The difficulties of climate change are something which are on everyone`s lips nowadays, and which might be more severe that the experts first had predicted. A report presented by the Norwegian minister of Foreign Affaires Jonas Gagr Støre and the American environmental activist Ale Gore on the Climate conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, predicts that the rise of sea level will exceed more than two meters during the coming century, which is far worse than they first had thought. The biggest problem to be addressed during the Copenhagen Climate Conference, which is taking place at this very moment, is the distribution of blame, and they are discussing which nations and to how great a degree these nations should be put responsible for the great climate change the world are experiencing.
The question is whether every nation in the world, rich and poor, should contribute just as much to reduce the density of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which are forcing the temperature to rise dramatically. This are leading to the melting of some of the biggest glaciers in the world, which again are given us rising sea levels and more extreme weather than our generation as ever experience, and if we should believe the experts, it will only get worse. Who is really to be blamed for the climate change we are being faced with? Is any rich nation more to blame than others? These are both question which are hard to answer, but one thing is for sure, the poor nations, which should not receive any blame at all, are the ones that suffer the most.
The Indonesian Environment Minister, Rachmat Witoelar, said in 2007; “It is becoming increasingly evident that the most severe impacts of the climate change will be felt by poor nations”. I would like to comment on the quote above by bringing in to prospective the small, but still densely populated, country of Bangladesh, which is one of the countries which are suffering the most because of the climate change.
Bangladesh is a democratic republic in South-Asia. The country covers the eastern parts of the historical region of Bengal, and border to the Bay of Bengal in the south, India in the vest and Burma in the east. Despite the fact that the country covers an area of less than 140 000 square meters, it is home to more than 150 millions inhabitants, with 1080 per square meter. In comparison, the Norwegian landmass is twice as big as that of Bangladesh, but the population density is less than 15 per square meter. The difficulties Bangladesh is being confronted with are not only a result of climate change, but it does have a finger in the pie.
The number of inhabitants in Bangladesh has doubled twice during the last 40 years, and is constantly growing. A growing population obviously makes it had to handle the limited water supplies. The average use of water per person a day is about 40 liters, and as a consequence of the growing population they need to produce more food, and to produce more crops they need more water. Evidently the inadequate access to water is on of the populations greatest challenges, and is mainly a result of Bangladesh`s location on the Ganges delta.
The country receives most of its water from the river of Ganges, which has its source in the Himalayas and which obtain most its capacity during the monsoon season. The climate change gives rise to longer and more frequent monsoon season with heavier rain and worse weather which result in a decline in the country’s capability to feed its population.
Bangladesh is a country with fertile soil and which are divide into separate areas by a numerous amount of rivers, just like a patchwork quilt. This is primarily a result of the fact that the country is situated on a delta. This fact also makes Bangladesh terribly vulnerable to floods, a growing pressure from tides forcing salt water to penetrate the soil, and harsh cyclones.
The contrast between dry periods and rain seasons are extreme. The climate change leads to the dry periods being increasingly ruthless and warm, which result in rivers exsiccating, wetland shrinking and the level of water in the soil dropping, which can lead to salt ingress which render the soil useless and destroy drinking water. A delta can be compared to a sponge, which, if left for long without being supplied with water, will dry out, and its ability to absorb water will be reduced greatly. The Mississippi river delta, on which New Orleans is situated, is a good example of a delta which has suffered under this fortune. The Ganges delta’s reduced ability to absorb water put Bangladesh at risk when the rivers overflow, which in turn destroy both the agriculture and other means of subsistence which the population of Bangladesh is dependent on to survive. The climate change is the main reason for both the more frequent dry periods and the harsher rain seasons, and for that reason it is fair to say that the rich nations in the world, which are the ones that are responsible for the change we are facing, are the reason for Bangladesh’s population’s suffering with reduced access to food and drinking water, and destroyed lives.
Bangladesh mainly consists of low-lying country, which makes the country defenceless towards a rising sea level. Scientists predict that by 2050 more that 17% of the landmass will be flooded and 30 million people will be left without a home. Bangladesh finds itself in a paradox seeing that it receives great quantities of water, but still often suffers from water shortage. The rivers bring more than 1100 cubic meter water ever year, which is enough to cover the entire country with a 7, 5 meter thick layer of water, but because of insufficient storage arrangements and ruthless exploitation of the soil Bangladesh is not capable of taking care of its population. Fortunately efforts are being made to improve the population’s living standard, but the work is tough and very few positive results have been seen yet.
Bangladesh is a good example of a poor developing country, which are suffering under the climate change which mainly the rich countries are responsible for. Even though the factors and consequences are different in other countries, it is fear to say that the poor people of the world are paying the price for the rich countries careless and in many ways selfish lifestyle.