Average tropical cyclones cost Bangladesh about $ 1 billion annually. By 2050, a third of agricultural GDP could be lost. In case of a severe flooding, GDP could fall by as much as 9 per cent, says a report by the World Bank.
Bangladesh needs to take urgent action including further adaptation and resilience measures to avoid risking its growth potential, the World Bank has said in its Country and Climate Development Report for the country. Released on Monday, the report outlines priority actions and financing needs to help Bangladesh address the climate crisis.
Highlighting the impact of climate change, the report says that it will hit poor and vulnerable people the hardest. Even under optimistic global climate scenarios, the country faces multiple severe risks from climate change that will disproportionately affect the poor, with impacts more concentrated in already vulnerable regions of Bangladesh.
The costs of environmental degradation and natural disasters are expected to rise over time, compounded by higher heat and humidity and impacts on health, the report says, adding that average tropical cyclones cost Bangladesh about US$ 1 billion annually. By 2050, a third of agricultural GDP could be lost and 13 million people could become internal climate migrants. In case of a severe flooding, GDP could fall by as much as 9 per cent, says the report.
Air pollution in Bangladesh costs about 9 per cent of GDP annually, says the World Bank report. By implementing policies that abate both air pollution and emissions, Bangladesh can reduce deaths from air pollution by half or save nearly 1 million lives within 2030.
“Climate vulnerability is particularly acute on Bangladesh’s coast,” the Bank says in its report, adding that “Under a 1.5°C increase in temperature and 4 percent increase in precipitation, sea levels in the Bay of Bengal could rise by 27 centimeters or more by 2050. Such sea level rise would nearly double asset risk, currently at approximately US$300 million per annum, and threaten agricultural production, water supply, and the diversity of coastal ecosystems.”
Without action, by 2040, cropland could shrink by more than 6.5 per cent nationally and 18 per cent in Southern Bangladesh alone, the World Bank warns in its report. It says that a third of the total agricultural GDP may be lost due to climate variability and extreme events by 2050 – by which time, Bangladesh could see over 13 million internal climate migrants.
Strengthen climate resilience
Currently, the GreenHouse Gas emissions in Bangladesh are not significant but it is likely to increase significantly if the country follows ‘business as usual’ development pathway.
World Bank Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser pointed out that Bangladesh has led the way in adaptation and disaster risk management. Over the past 50 years, it has reduced the cyclone-related deaths 100 fold, said Martin Raiser but called for adoption of a low carbon development path for a resilient future for Bangladesh.
The World Bank report has recommended investments in infrastructure and services to strengthen climate resilience and called for action focused on improved agriculture productivity, energy and transport efficiency which can lower future emissions while improving air, soil, and water quality.