APPEAL FOR CONCERTED ACTION ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS


H.E. Sheikh Hasina

Hon'ble Prime Minister

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Prime Minister's Office

Old Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka 1215, Bangladesh

Phone: +88 01555 888 555, +88 01711 520000, +88 01819 260371

Email: info@pmo.gov.bd, pm@pmo.gov.bd, ps1topm@pmo.gov.bd, psecy@pmo.gov.bd, dir4@pmo.gov.bd

Fax: +88 02 811 3244, +88 02 811 3243, +88 02 811 1015, +88 02 811 1490


APPEAL FOR CONCERTED ACTION ON THE CLIMATE CRISIS


Dear H.E. Prime Minister:


We, the civil society representatives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America and the Pacific, heartily congratulate you on being elected as Chairperson of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a group of 48 developing countries vulnerable to climate change [1]. On behalf of local communities and environmental groups, we also express our sincerest gratitude for adopting a resolution declaring a “Planetary Emergency” in Parliament 14 November 2019, making Bangladesh the first country in the world to do so [2]. We deeply appreciate your reconfirmation on your commitment to "work towards correcting this imbalance" of the earth's climate.


We would like you to reflect on the decision in the CVF Marrakesh Communique 2016, which pledged to achieve "net carbon neutrality and 100% renewable energy" by 2050 [3]. To this end, with regards to Bangladesh’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement, you pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy use at 10% by 2021. At present Bangladesh has only met 4% of that target as of November 2019.


A recent study by the Institute for Sustainable Future, World Future Council and Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), shows that Bangladesh has enough land and natural resources to generate 156 Gigawatts (GW) of electricity from solar energy only [4]. While the country has this viable but largely untapped potential for solar energy generation, unfortunately, it has been observed that the state is approving more and more fossil fuels, especially coal-based power plants, being set up by public and private companies.


Recent reports indicate that Bangladesh has an overcapacity of electricity generation, and as of April 2019 more than one-third of the total installed capacity remained idle [5]. The unused power reaches 40% in 2019 [6]. Your office must be well aware that the state has had to compensate at least USD 4.45 billion in the last 6 years and USD 1.00 billion in fiscal year 2018-19 as Capacity Charge for stranded assets of the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) [7].

At present media reports and government, announcements suggest that the state has given permission to establish around 29 coal power plants in the country [8] along with hundreds of furnace oil, diesel, and gas-based power plants. Alarmingly the coal power plants alone would emit 5.3 billion tons of Co2 in their lifetime of 40 years [9].

Apart from the pollution and emission concern, we would also like to bring your attention to a specific coal power company operating with a duty exemption of BDT 31.71 billion (USD 396.36 million) [10], S.S. Power Limited (owned by S. Alam Group) [11]. S.S Power limited has been associated with the killing of at least 4 innocent villagers who were protesting on land grabbing by the power plant project developers on 4 April 2016 [12]. We hope your office will look into these serious social concerns associated with coal power plant investments in Bangladesh.


Consequently, we are conveying concerns over the decision of reducing Value Added Tax (VAT) from imported coal up to 2025, by 10% to reduce the cost of electricity generated from coal power plants [13] while various International reports suggest that solar power is much cheaper than coal in Asia [14]. Subsidy schemes on coal will lead to further extraction related impacts in coal exporting countries which will be compounded by the emission of burning coal in importing countries. Honorable Prime Minister, we would like to remind you that the decision to expand coal and other fossil fuel in Bangladesh, which is one of the Most Vulnerable Countries (MVCs) due to climate change is contradictory to the spirit of the nation’s commitments in NDC as well as the international consensus of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degree Celsius through the Paris Agreement [15].


We strongly and sincerely believe that with your leadership in the CVF, you will lead the Forum by setting examples and dismantling all subsidies to fossil fuel investments in the country, and move away from all coal-based power towards a green and 100% renewable future.


Urge from Global Civil Society

Withdraw the approvals of Coal and other fossil fuel-based power plantsCancel all subsidies and tax exemptions offered for coal and other fossil fuelsPay the highest attention and set ambitious targets of generating power from renewable energy from 10% to 100% by 2050 and take the necessary actions to hit the target urgently.Provide adequate subsidies for home-based renewable energy systems to encourage households to initiate solar systems in urban areas in addition to those in rural households.Take necessary actions to install two-way electricity meters for energy consumers so that individual citizens can contribute to national power generation from captive renewable power systems.



Sincerely Yours,

Mr. Rayyan Hassan

Executive Director

NGO Forum on ADB

Endorsed by:

  1. 350.org

  2. Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), Australia

  3. Bangladesh Working Group on External Debt (BWGED), Bangladesh

  4. Bank Information Center (BIC) Europe

  5. Bank Information Center (BIC), USA

  6. Center for Environment and Participatory Research (CEPR), Bangladesh

  7. Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ), Sri Lanka

  8. Centre for Human Rights and Development (CHRD), Mongolia

  9. Corporate Europe Observatory, Europe

  10. Digo Bikas Institute, Nepal

  11. ECOTON, Indonesia

  12. Environics Trust, India

  13. Food First Information and Action Network (FIAN), Sri Lanka

  14. Forest Peoples Programme, UK

  15. Foundation for Environmental Management and Campaign against Poverty, Tanzania

  16. Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Philippines

  17. Friends of the Earth (FOE)

  18. Frontera Water Protection Alliance (FWPA), USA

  19. Gender Action, USA

  20. Global Rights, Nigeria

  21. Global Rights, USA

  22. Green Advocates International, Liberia

  23. Housing and Land Rights Network, Habitat International Coalition

  24. INSAF (Indian Social Action Forum), India

  25. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA

  26. International Rivers

  27. Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), Japan

  28. KRuHA (People’s Coalition for the Right to Water), Indonesia

  29. Life Haven (Center for Independent Living), Philippines

  30. Oxfam, Bangladesh

  31. Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Philippines

  32. Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), Philippines

  33. Project Affected Peoples Association (PAPA), India

  34. Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition

  35. SNI (Indonesian Fisherfolk Union), Indonesia

  36. Sri Lanka Nature Group (SLNG), Sri Lanka

  37. UmeedeNoo, Pakistan

  38. We Women Lanka, Sri Lanka

  39. WomanHealth Philippines (WHP)

  40. Za Zemiata/Friends of the Earth - Bulgaria


Reference::

[1] Daily Dhaka Tribune (2019). "PM agrees to become next CVF Chair". The Daily Dhaka Tribune, Dhaka: 2 December 2019. Retrieved from https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/foreign-affairs/2019/12/02/pm-agrees-to-become-next-cvf-chair accessed on 8 December 2019

[2] Daily NewAge (2019a). "Bangladesh parliament resolved for Planetary Emergency". The Daily NewAge, Dhaka: 14 November 2019. Retrieved from http://www.newagebd.net/article/90573/bangladesh-parliament-resolved-for-planetary-emergency accessed on 8 December 2019

[3] CVF (2016). "The Marrakech Communique". Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), Majuro: 18 November 2016. Retrieved from https://thecvf.org/marrakech-communique/ accessed on 8 December 2019

[4] CDP (2019). 100% Renewable Energy for Bangladesh: Access to Renewable Energy for All within One Generation. Coastal Development Partnership (CDP), Dhaka: October 2019. Retrieved from https://www.worldfuturecouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/100-Renewable-Energy-for-Bangladesh.pdf accessed on 8 December 2019

[5] Daily NewAge (2019b). "Idle power plants paid Tk 8,000cr in F19". The Daily NewAge, Dhaka: 7 September 2019. Retrieved from http://www.newagebd.net/article/83819/idle-power-plants-paid-tk-8000cr-in-f19 accessed on 8 December 2019

[6] Daily NewAge (2019c). "40pc of power generation capacity unused". The Daily NewAge, Dhaka: 30 November 2019. Retrieved from http://www.newagebd.net/article/92192/40pc-of-power-generation-capacity-unused accessed on 9 December 2019

[7] Moazzem, K.G. & Ali, M. (2019). The Power and Energy Sector of Bangladesh: Challenges of Moving beyond the Transition Stage. Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), Dhaka: 10 March 2019. Retrieved from https://cpd.org.bd/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/The-Power-and-Energy-Sector-of-Bangladesh.pdf accessed on 8 December 2019

[8] https://scroll.in/article/943070/bangladeshs-plan-to-massively-expand-coal-based-power-plants-will-be-a-catastrophe-says-new-report

[9] Daily Newage (2019d). "Six Countries turn Bangladesh into Carbon Bomb: Study". The Daily NewAge, Dhaka: 7 November 2019. Retrieved from http://www.newagebd.net/article/89989/6-countries-turn-bangladesh-a-carbon-bomb-study accessed on 8 December 2019

[10] MOF (2016). Gazette Notification: SRO No. 49, Act/2019/08.00.0000.040.22.016.18. National Board of Revenue (NBR), Dhaka: 20 February 2019

[11] New Nation (2019). "Tk 3170.87 cr duty exemption for S. Alam Group". The New Nation, Dhaka: 21 February 2019. Retrieved from http://m.thedailynewnation.com/news/207046/tk-317087-cr-duty-exemption-for-s-alam-group accessed on 8 December 2019

[12] Daily Star (2016). "4 killed in clash over setting up power plant". The Daily Star, Dhaka: 4 April 2016. Retrieved from https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/3-killed-30-injured-clash-over-power-plant-1204543 accessed on 8 December 2019

[13] Daily Star (2019). "NBR cuts VAT on coal import for power". The Daily Star, Dhaka: 6 December 2019. Retrieved from https://www.thedailystar.net/business/news/nbr-cuts-vat-coal-import-power-plants-1836466 accessed on 08 December 2019

[14] SEI (2019). "China Power’s results show how much cheaper solar is to coal". Smart Energy International (SMI), Rondebosch: 28 August 2019. Retrieved from https://www.smart-energy.com/renewable-energy/china-powers-results-show-how-much-cheaper-solar-is-to-coal/ accessed on 8 December 2019

[15] UNFCCC (2015). Article 2(a), Paris Agreement. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Paris: December 2015

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