Bengal, home to some of the most climatically vulnerable areas, should be supported through national, international and private finance, experts said in a recent meeting held in the city on G20 and climate change.
The financial implications of repeated cyclones and other weather extremities in the region were highlighted in the meeting. Reports that showed that nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore was lost only in three cyclones — Bulbul, Amphan and Yaas — during 2019-21, were quoted at the meeting.
Experts said according to the latest UN reports, Kolkata, the Sunderbans and major parts of south and north Bengal may receive a significant rise in temperature, more cyclones, floods and sudden bursts of rainfall over the coming decades; unless the emission rise is controlled immediately.
The meeting — held by non-profit Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) and others on Friday — has finalised a set of recommendations on Saturday.“Major parts of West Bengal...stand extremely vulnerable to ever-increasing climatic impacts...and hence needs support from international, national and even private fund sources...,” reads one of the recommendations pushed by economist Nilanjan Ghosh, director of Observer Research Foundation Calcutta.
Solar expert S.P. Gon Chowdhury suggested that the state should get climate funding for pursuing solar and other non-conventional energies from huge coal cess reserves lying with the Union government.“Using G20 platform, India must remind rich nations of their historical responsibility...to provide a fair share of climate finance...,” said Harjeet Singh, Climate Action Network’s global head of political strategy.
Loss and damage fund is meant to support the highly impacted communities of developed and underdeveloped countries.“Just energy transition needs to be pushed...,” said Sanjay Vashist, director of CANSA; echoing a demand placed by Debasish Kumar, a mayor in council member in the civic body.
MP Saugata Roy promised to raise the issues in Parliament once he receives the report.
Disaster management minister Javed Khan said “science and evidence-based disaster support system needs to be prepared”.He alleged that at present such support gets linked to political bias.“We are collating the recommendations and a final draft will be sent to all concerned,” said Dulal Bose, former sheriff of Kolkata and an advisor to EnGIO, one of the organisers.