March 1, 2012, DHAKA: Bangladesh will require climate-smart policies and investments to make itself more resilient to the effects of climate change, says a new World Bank report ‘The Cost of Adapting To Extreme Weather Events in a Changing Climate’. The report estimates that adaptation costs from increased risks of cyclones and inland monsoon floods in a changing climate will be approximately US$5.7 billion by 2050.
The report estimates that monsoon floods will affect an additional 2 million people by inundating new areas due to climate change. For cyclonic storm surges, currently 8 million people in the coastal area are vulnerable to inundation depths greater than 3 meters and this number will increase to 13.5 million by 2050. In addition, another 9 million people are expected to be exposed to inundation depths above 3 meter due to climate change.
Bangladesh already has extensive infrastructure to protect coastal residents from cyclones and tidal waves. To avert further damage and loss from cyclonic storm surges in a changing climate an additional US$2.4 billion will be required to climate-proof critical infrastructure by the year 2050. For inland monsoon flood, the cost of adaptation for the railways, road network, embankments and drainage infrastructure to offset additional inundation due to climate change alone is estimated at US$3.3billion.
“Climate Change is no longer only an environmental issue; it is a development issue,” said Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Minister for Environment and Forests and Chief Guest at the launching. “We have invested billions in adaptation measures such as flood management schemes, coastal embankments, cyclone shelters and others. However, the journey is far from being over. This study will help us better understand the additional risks caused by natural disasters in a changing climate."
At present, a severe cyclone strikes Bangladesh every three years, and the country faces serious monsoon inland flooding that may submerge over 60% of the country every 4 to 5 years. In a changing climate, Bangladesh is likely to experience higher-intensity cyclonic storm surges and heavier, more erratic monsoon flooding.
“Adaptation to increased risks from climate-induced weather events is essential for development worldwide, but particularly in Bangladesh,” said Ellen Goldstein, Country Director, World Bank Bangladesh. “This study provides an analytic framework for understanding the challenge ahead. It is building block within the World Bank’s broader technical and financial commitment to support a climate-resilient future in Bangladesh.”
The World Bank conducted the study in collaboration with the Institute of Water Modeling and the Center for Environmental and Geographic Information Services with financial support from the Government of the Netherlands, and the Bangladesh Climate Change Resilience Fund (supported by Denmark, the EU, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK).