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Bangladesh on The Verge of a Carbon Catastrophe

Environmentalists warn Bangladesh of Carbon catastrophe

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Bangladesh
Bangladesh is on the verge of a carbon catastrophe with a large number of coal-based power plants. Pixabay

When the rest of the world is switching to renewable energy, Bangladesh is on the verge of a carbon catastrophe with a large number of coal-based power plants, environmentalists warned on Wednesday.

“Power is essential for Bangladesh…but it should not come through any suicidal project. No project is acceptable at the expense of people’s lives, livelihood, and environment,” said Iftekharuzzaman, the Executive Director of anti-graft watchdog Transparency International Bangladesh.

Iftekharuzzaman made the observation in Dhaka at the launch of a report titled ‘Choked by Coal: The Carbon Catastrophe in Bangladesh’, which highlighted the risk of coal-fired power stations, Efe news reported.

Australia-based campaign group Market Forces, California-based non-profit 350, Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA), Transparency International Bangladesh and Waterkeepers Bangladesh jointly released the report.

Bangladesh
It’s high time for Bangladesh to switch to renewable resources. Pixabay

According to the report, at least 29 coal-fired power projects with a total capacity of 33,200 MW are being set up in Bangladesh. If all the projects are built, the country’s coal power capacity would increase by 63 times from the current 525 MW.

Annual emissions from the proposed coal plants would be 115 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2031, higher than the upper emissions estimate for the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline between the United States and Canada, said the report.

The report added that 4,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide would be emitted through the operating lifetime of Bangladesh’s proposed coal plants, which is 20 percent greater than the lifetime emissions from all of the currently operating coal plants in Japan.

Chinese banks and companies are leading the dirty energy drive, funding over half of the projects, said the report, adding that UK and Japan-based companies are involved in three proposed coal projects each, despite transitioning to cleaner energy within their own borders.

“What is happening in the rest of the world over coal, Bangladesh is doing the opposite, though it is not necessary…the situation is turning like that we would be suppressed under coal,” said Abdul Matin, general secretary of BAPA.

The report also warned Bangladesh of the huge trade deficit as the pipeline plants would lock the country into a huge volume of coal import for decades.

Bangladesh
Annual emissions from the proposed coal plants in Bangladesh would be 115 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2031. Pixabay

“It would cost Bangladesh an estimated $2 billion annually to import large volumes of coal to power the proposed plants. Unless export increases significantly, this would add billions to the negative trade balance,” said the report.

During the fiscal years of 2018 and 2019, the country experienced the largest trade deficit in its history – $18 billion and $16 billion respectively, according to the report.

Iftekharuzzaman said after implementing the projects Bangladesh will also have to share the blame for climate change when the country itself is vulnerable to its catastrophic effects.

“We are taking these projects under pressure from foreign countries. We must back away from it… when we are one of the vulnerable countries to climate change, these will make us one of the worst polluters,” he said.

Also Read-More than 11,000 Scientists Declare Climate Emergency

The Asian Development Bank ranks Bangladesh seventh in the world of countries most affected by climate change. By 2050, with a projected half-meter rise in sea level, 11 percent of Bangladesh’s landmass may be lost, affecting about 15 million people in its coastal areas. (IANS)

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Here’s Why Automative Technology May Have Adverse Impact on Climate, Public Health

climate trade-off is much different on the regional scale, especially in areas with high vehicle densities

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Technology
While automative technology is credited with boosting fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions, GDI engines produce more black carbon aerosols than traditional port fuel injection engines. Pixabay

New automotive technology that promises enhanced fuel efficiency may have a serious downside, including significant climate and public health impacts, a new study suggests.

The gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine is one of the most prominent technologies car manufacturers adopted to achieve the fuel economy and carbon dioxide emission goals established in 2012 by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

While this technology is credited with boosting fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions, GDI engines produce more black carbon aerosols than traditional port fuel injection engines, according to the study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

“Even though emissions from gasoline vehicles constitute a small fraction of the black carbon in the atmosphere, the vehicle emissions are concentrated in regions with high population densities, which magnifies their effect,” said study researcher Rawad Saleh, Assistant Professor at University of Georgia in the US.

The market share of GDI-equipped vehicles increased from 2.3 per cent in model year 2008 to 51 per cent in model year 2018. The EPA projects 93 per cent of vehicles in the US will be equipped with GDI engines by 2025. According to the study, researchers predicts the increase in black carbon emissions from GDI-powered vehicles will fuel climate warming in urban areas of the US that significantly exceeds the cooling associated with a reduction in CO2.

In addition, they believe the shift will nearly double the premature mortality rate associated with vehicle emissions, from 855 deaths annually to 1,599. The researchers estimate the annual social cost of these premature deaths at $5.95 billion. The increase of black carbon is an unintended consequence of the shift to GDI-equipped vehicles that some scientists suspected was based on experimental data, according to the researcher.

Technology
New automotive technology that promises enhanced fuel efficiency may have a serious downside, including significant climate and public health impacts. Pixabay

“This study is the first to place these experimental findings in a complex modeling framework to investigate the trade-off between CO2 reduction and an increase in black carbon,” Slah said. While previous research has reported the shift to GDI engines will result in net benefits for the global climate, the researchers said that these benefits are rather small and can only be realized on timescales of decades.

Meanwhile, the negative impact of black carbon can be felt instantaneously, they added.

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“Our research shows the climate trade-off is much different on the regional scale, especially in areas with high vehicle densities. In these regions, the climate burden induced by the increase in black carbon dominates over the climate benefits of the reduction in CO2,” said Saleh. (IANS)