Sunday, June 16, 2024

Urgent Revision Needed for Sustainable Energy Policy – Dr Moazzem

Originally posted in Dhaka Tribune on 21 April 2024

Bangladesh’s young climate activists demand revision of Energy Master Plan

  • Want renewable energy-based plan
  • High time to get rid of expensive technology, harmful fossil fuel use

Bangladeshi climate activists demand a revision of the Integrated Energy Power Master Plan (IEPMP) or integrated master plan for the electricity and energy sector so that a sustainable and climate-friendly renewable energy-based master plan is possible.

They raised these demands at a rally held in front of the National Press Club in the capital on Friday.

The banner-festoons held by them spell various slogans like the transformation of the energy sector, amendment of energy master plan, urgency of renewable-based power and harmonization of various energy policies, danger of detrimental effects of climate change, energy transition, climate finance and need for renewable electricity.

The young climate activists called on the government to urgently revise the current master plan, highlighting the costly bogus solutions contained in the Energy Master Plan (IEPMP).

Dr Khandaker Gholam Moazzem, director of research at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a non-governmental policy-research organization, said in a message in solidarity with the youth’s demands: “By prioritizing fossil fuels and false solutions like hydrogen and carbon capture in the current IEPMP, the government is hindering Bangladesh’s energy transition and jeopardizing its environmental and economic future. To truly align with national renewable energy targets and accelerate our progress towards a sustainable future outlined in the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan, it’s imperative to revise the IEPMP. Removing barriers to renewable energy adoption is essential for a successful energy transition, and revising the IEPMP is the first step towards achieving this goal.”

Young activists also called for an IEPMP to be in line with the Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan (MCPP) and other national policies to prioritize renewable energy.

To ensure a sustainable energy future for generations to come, the revised IEPMP should prioritize achieving national renewable energy targets by including them, activists urged.

As part of the Global Climate Strike, young students went on strike on Friday to ensure a liveable world and called on world leaders to be more vocal in tackling climate change.

Youth Net for Climate Justice, a Bangladesh-based climate organization, ‍and Fridays for future-s Bangladesh Branch held this program at the press club in coordination with the “Global Climate Strike” event, which is an initiative from “Fridays for Future”, an organization by school-level students worldwide.

Executive Coordinator of Youth Net for Climate Justice Sohanur Rahman said: “The Integrated Energy and Power Master Plan (IEPMP) must serve Bangladesh’s interests, not those of others. The plan assigns a significant role to three new technologies – hydrogen, ammonia, and carbon capture and storage. Proven renewable technologies like solar and wind, however, are assigned smaller shares despite their recent growth. We young people reject false solutions and call for a shift towards an energy transition-focused master plan that prioritizes renewable energy sources and ensures a just transition for all.”

Bangladeshi climate activists hold a rally in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on Friday, April 19, 2024. Photo: Courtesy

Greenhouse gas-emitting fuels like ammonia and hydrogen have also been included in the list of “clean for the environment” fuels in the IEPMP. Such fossil-based power is not only harmful to the environment but also expensive and unproven. Experts are calling these technologies “false solutions”.

Climate activists also urged at the rally that developed countries should take effective action to ensure that multinationals do not invest in fossil fuels to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius as per the Paris Agreement. And at the same time, renewable energy should be chosen as an alternative instead of falling for various unproven “false solutions”.

“Continuing fossil fuel financing perpetuates climate injustice, with profits for corporations but ongoing suffering for communities. It’s time for banks and investors to divest and prioritize a just transition for all, ensuring climate justice.” Dr Samiya Selim, director and professor, Centre for Sustainable Development, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh, said in this regard.

Friday’s rally also called for quick compensation to affected and climate-vulnerable countries with money from developed countries who are responsible for most pollution to establish ”climate justice” as promised at the COP conference. To do that, a sufficient fund should be built on a priority basis which would be followed by a quick withdrawal strategy so that money can be discharged without any delay.

At the rally, the youth demanded an unconditional waiver of the financial debt of the countries of the “Global South” so that the poor and underdeveloped countries could put more effort into combating climate change. They also sharply criticized developed countries and multinational corporations for constantly making false promises about reducing carbon emissions.

They uttered various details of the disastrous life that the citizens of affected countries like Bangladesh are living due to the effect of climate change. Not only storms, floods, and tidal waves, but also climate change is no less responsible for the terrible and deadly form of air pollution in big cities like Dhaka, they said.

Speakers at the rally said, the world is going through a crucial time due to the catastrophic effects of climate change, which the United Nations has already declared a “red alert for global humanity”. Transitioning from this situation, governments and investors must shoulder the responsibility for the climate-damaging activities of harmful fossil fuels.

From the rally, the youth urged Bangladesh to move away from high-cost energy imports and expensive technology-based policies to create a climate-friendly, renewable energy-based master plan and take effective steps to implement it.