Five good reasons why Bangladeshis should have a say in the UK elections
1. The UK is the world’s eighth-biggest carbon emitter. We produce more than 12 times more carbon from energy consumption every year than Bangladesh (the UK produces 564 million tonnes to Bangladesh’s 45.56). We have also been emitting significant amounts of carbon for centuries, while Bangladesh has not. Carbon emissions contribute to man-made climate change. Bangladesh is one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world. Giving Bangladeshis a vote in the UK elections would mean that they had a say in how we cut our carbon emissions, that are creating floods, cyclones and other problems in their country.
2. At the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009, rich industrial nations pledged funds for ‘adaptation and mitigation’ – helping climate change-affected countries defend themselves against extreme weather patterns, and develop their own economies more cleanly. But there are already signs that the rich nations are moving to bypass these pledges. Giving Bangladeshis a say in UK elections will mean that our government is held to account on this promise, and mean that this development support goes where it is needed and local expertise and requirements are listened to.
3. Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni has warned that rising oceans from climate change could swallow up to a third of the low-lying country, putting 20 million people at risk of becoming climate refugees. Atique Chowdhury, Give Your Vote's organizer in Dhaka, is a self-described climate refugee, a former resident of an island near the Bay of Bengal that has been almost completely abandoned because of rising sea levels. "As a major emitter of carbon dioxide, the U.K. must take the responsibility," he says. Developing nations want and deserve a say on how that's done.
4. Climate change has caused and increase in frequency and strength of tropical cyclones in the region which devastate the land and lives of people in Bangladesh. One recent example is Hurricane Sidr which, in 2007, killed over 3000 people and destroyed half a million homes.
5. Other problems and extreme weather patterns that have been exacerbated by climate change include salination of soil and water, and reduction of fish levels due to rising sea temperatures and fresh-water salination. Bangladeshi farmers, fishers, and people just trying to get enough to eat every day have a stake in UK energy policy and should have a say in how this is made.