Bangladesh’s burdens.

If you’re wondering why this country seems to get singled out and disproportionately mentioned in all the climate change literature I’ve been citing, I think this Dale Jamieson article may offer an explanation:

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been quoted as saying that climate change is ‘an act of aggression by the rich against the poor’. The data seems to bear him out. Most of the emitting is done by the rich countries of the North, but most of the climate-change related dying is done in the poor countries of the South (Patz et al. 2005). When we look at some countries in particular the case seems even stronger. A recent paper suggests that climate change will lead to a 1-m change in sea level by the end of the century (Grinsted et al. 2009). Such a sea level rise will flood one third of Bangladesh’s coastline, creating an additional 20 million environmental refugees. In addition, saline water will intrude even further inland, fouling water supplies and crops, and harming livestock. This will occur as cyclones and other natural disasters become more frequent and perhaps more intense. In order to begin to adapt to climate change by building embankments, cyclone shelters, roads and other infrastructure, it is estimated that four billion dollars would be required. Yet Bangladesh’s total national budget in 2007 was less than $10 billion. Bangladesh suffers in all these ways, yet its carbon dioxide emissions per capita are one twentieth of the global average. Several small island states, such as the Maldives, will lose even more. They will literally cease to exist as their landmass is swallowed by rising seas.


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