Simon Maxwell, CBE, Executive Chair, Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) addressed the lecture titled “Climate Compatible Development: Pathway or Pipedream?” held on Saturday 16 January 2016 at The Westin, Dhaka.
Published in The Daily Star on Saturday, 16 January 2016
In climate battle, bold leadership is the way forward
Simon Maxwell of UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge and Network says at CPD’s programme
Star Business Report
A leading climate expert yesterday called for bold leadership and well-defined policies to tackle the challenges of climate change.
It is worth remembering that leadership is measured by actions and not words, said Simon Maxwell, executive chair of UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge and Network.
Maxwell’s comments came at a discussion styled ‘Climate Compatible Development: Pathway or Pipedream’, organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue at the capital’s Westin hotel as part of its anniversary lecture series.
Maxwell said Bangladesh should be lauded for its active role in the climate debates in Paris in December last year.
Bangladesh contributed immensely in putting the issue of vulnerability on the public stage alongside mitigation and helped to influence the spending priorities of the Green Climate Fund, he added.
Maxwell said there are many reasons to be anxious about the impact of climate change on development. “However, the poverty reduction and social inclusion goals of the sustainable development framework are non-negotiable. Climate compatible development offers a way forward.”
Climate-compatible development emphasises not only mitigation and adaptation within countries but also the impact on individual countries of transformation in the wider global economy.
In this context, innovation becomes a key concept, and competitiveness an essential tool, he said.
Climate compatible development explains how climate strategies integrate the threats and opportunities of a changing climate. As a result, it heralds a new generation of development processes that safeguard development from climate impacts and reduce or keep emissions low without compromising development goals.
Climate-compatible development goes one step further by asking policymakers to consider ‘triple-win’ strategies that result in low emissions, build resilience and promote development simultaneously, according to Climate and Development Knowledge and Network.
The adoption of the new sustainable development goals and the Paris agreement on climate change together poses a transformational challenge.
“This is so despite the fact that the concrete mitigation commitments made by countries in Paris amount to only about a quarter of those needed by 2030.”
In the longer-term, much more radical cuts will be needed, leading to complete elimination of carbon dioxide by 2070, and other greenhouse gases well before the end of the century.
Achieving the SDGs will require close integration of poverty, environmental and social action, well captured by the idea of zero poverty by 2030 and zero net emissions of carbon dioxide by about 2070.
He said there is no shortage of guidance on how to design a cap-and-trade regime, or an energy policy that favours renewables, or a package to strengthen resilience to climate shocks.
Quoting the Climate Action Tracker, Maxwell said it is clear that some countries like Bhutan, Costa Rica and Ethiopia have done their share while many others, including Australia, Canada and Japan, have not.
Future work on climate and development must be informed by the lessons of past development research and policymaking, and must build on the values held by those working in the field.
The energy expert hopes the private sector will participate even more enthusiastically in helping the country reach the targets on climate change and come up with new technologies to do so.
While talking about Bangladesh, he brought upon the issue of agriculture, which is a major source of livelihood in the country but also a major emitter of carbon dioxide to the world. “So, how does Bangladesh get to zero carbon agriculture by 2070?”
Presiding over the lecture, Rehman Sobhan, chairman of the CPD, talked about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision to start the construction of the Padma bridge with own funds after development partners withdrew promised assistance.
“The political challenge was met by the prime minister. They [the government] have now committed Tk 28,000 crore to construct this from our own resources.”
He however wondered if Bangladesh would be able to marshal such amounts of funds if it does not receive development assistance to overcome climate change impacts.
The sliding oil price, which is now at a 12-year low, is emerging as a serious setback for the climate change process, the economist said. “There was a shift towards fuel-efficient smaller cars when the oil price was $100 a barrel. But now many more SUVs are coming onto the markets. This issue has to be taken into account.”
He also touched upon local pollution, particularly that of the Buriganga river by the tanneries in Hazaribagh over the last three decades. The situation begs the question of why there were no effluent treatment plants in Hazaribagh in the first place, Rehman added.
CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said tackling climate change will require innovations in financing.
CPD Executive Director Mustafizur Rahman also spoke, while BRAC Founder and Chairperson Sir Fazle Hasan Abed were present among other dignitaries, development activists, economists and experts.
Published in The Financial Express on Saturday, 16 January 2016
UK expert for private sector to face climate change challenges
A visiting UK-based climate expert hoped Saturday that the private sector would respond with enthusiasm and act responsibly, guided by bold leadership, right policies and their implementation, to meet the challenges of climate change.
Speaking at the Centre for Policy Dialogue Anniversary Lecture 2015, Executive Chair of UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) Simon Maxwell said climate battle targets could be achieved by leveraging private sector engagement in ways consistent with poverty reduction and sustainable development.
He also suggested the authorities concerned to prioritise their own goals in achieving reduction of carbon emission and reduction of poverty simultaneously, rather going for literal implementation of agreements of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Conference of the Parties (COP).
“Take these agreements seriously but don’t take those absolutely literally and be intelligent how you interpret the goals,” he said at a city hotel speaking on a topic styled ‘Climate Compatible Development: Pathway or Pipedream’.
CPD Chairman Rehman Sobhan, Distinguished Fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya and Executive Director Mustafizur Rahman were present at the lecture session.
He said the adoption of the SDGs and finalisation of the conference of the parties (COP) together highlight the urgency of a new approach and open a new chapter.
Terming SDGs problematic, the visiting climate expert said these are universal. These apply to developed and developing countries equally. But these are also really problematic goals as these are very ambitious.
He said some 17 goals and 169 targets and more than 1000 indicators were imposed under SDGs on countries including Bangladesh without setting any priority and any choice.
“Is it possible to have absolute reduction of poverty to zero and at the same time, continue to grow rapidly and at the same time preserve oceans, lakes and rivers and all the other aspects including air quality and produce functioning legitimate institutes in every country with the rule of law?” he asked.
He questioned as to why growth is as a high-level goal as the same level poverty reduction. Growth is an instrument.
“We don’t want a world dominated by growth. We want the world to be dominated by ideas of social justice for all, by equality and by achieving human development potentials of people. Growth is a means to an end, it’s not a goal,” he said.
He also said Bangladesh made significant achievements in dealing with carbon emissions despite its constraints.
Mr Maxwell said agriculture is a major contributor in mitigating climate change losses and Bangladesh, having about 30 per cent of the country’s GDP and labour force there, is the major contributor to carbon emission.
Prof Rehman Sobhan, chairperson of Centre for Policy Dialogue, lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s bold leadership for her decision to start construction of the Padma Bridge relying on own budget after the development partners withdrew assistance.
He, however, wondered whether Bangladesh would be able to do the same if it does not receive development aid to overcome climate change impacts.
He also said he along with others held rallies on the bank of the Buriganga River to save it from pollution 30 years ago. But the issue has still been dragging on.
CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya said tackling climate change requires innovative financing.
Published in New Age on Saturday, 16 January 2016
Expert for leadership, execution of right policy for climate compatible dev
Rehman Sobhan points out 3 challenges in this area for B’desh
Simon Maxwell, a leading expert on international development and climate change, on Saturday stressed country-level forward looking leadership, appropriate policy design and its proper implementation for overcoming the challenges related to climate compatible development.
‘Inspiring, focused and forward looking leadership is a key to achieve sustainable development goals through changing the policy towards climate-friendly development and its proper implementation,’ Simon, executive chair of UK-based Climate and Development Knowledge and Network, said. He was speaking at the Centre for Policy Dialogue anniversary lecture-2015 on ‘climate compatible development: pathway or pipedream’ held at the Westin Hotel in Dhaka.
He also said that developing countries like Bangladesh should prioritise its development agenda in the context of their own needs from the sustainable development goals adopted by the United Nations in last September. ‘Take the SDGs seriously but not absolutely literary and be intelligent while interpret the goals,’ he advised. At the programme, CPD chairperson professor Rehman Sobhan pointed out three challenges — making the Buriganga River pollution-free, relocating tanneries from Hazaribag to Savar and protecting city’s water bodies — for protecting environment in the country.
He, however, raised question whether the government would allocate sufficient resources for climate change financing if the global communities do not come forward with enough fund.
He lauded prime minister Sheikh Hasina for her leadership in successfully facing the political challenges in constructing the Padma Bridge with own resources after the World Bank and other international lenders withdrew their promised assistance. ‘Thirty years ago, I along with some others brought out a rally on the bank of the Buriganga with the demand of protecting it from pollution but still the situation remains same,’ he said.
Giving emphasis on relocating tanneries from the city’s Hazaribag, he said, ‘Some kind of drama is going on even after 13 years of the initiative taken to relocate the tanneries to save the Buriganga and adjacent areas from effluent.’ City’s water bodies are gradually disappearing because of differences between the current actual prices of land and the rates being offered by the real estate developers, he said.
Simon, also a former director of UK-based Overseas Development Institute, said that there were many reasons to be anxious about the impact of climate change on development.
‘However, poverty reduction and social inclusion goals of the Sustainable Development Framework are non-negotiable,’ he said. He also emphasised individual action and private sector’s role for ensuring environment-friendly sustainable development. CPD distinguished fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya and executive director Mustafizur Rahman spoke, among others, at the programme.
Published in The News Today on Saturday, 16 January 2016
Leadership key for climate compatible development
Simon Maxwell, a leading international development policy expert, here on Saturday stressed the need for a bold leadership, designing right policies and implementing those for climate compatible development in Bangladesh and other countries, reports UNB. “It [a country] has to include mitigation and adaptation to climate changes, and global transformation and at the same time it has to include Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)… leadership is absolutely key, and policy design and implementation are needed (to deal all these things),” he said while delivering a lecture at a city hotel. The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a civil society think tank, arranged the CPD Anniversary Lecture 2015 on ‘Climate Compatible Development: Pathway or Pipedream?’ Presided over by CPD chairman Prof Rehman Sobhan, the programme was moderated by CPD distinguished fellow Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya. Maxwell, also a senior research associate at the UK’s leading independent think tank Oversees Development Institute (ODI), lauded the socio-economic development of Bangladesh and its leadership role in the international climate forum, including the climate vulnerable forum. Talking about the SDGs, he suggested taking take SDGs seriously but not taking it absolutely and literally. But, he said, the poverty reduction and social inclusion goals of the agenda are non-negotiable ones. He said climate compatible development offers a framework for thinking about the pathway for dealing with changes, while simultaneously achieving the poverty reduction and other targets embedded in the SDGs. Maxwell said climate compatible development emphasises not only mitigation and adaptation within countries, but also the impact on individual countries of transformation in the wider global economy. In this context, innovation becomes a key concept and competitiveness is an essential tool, he added. Prof Rehman Sobhan praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her decision to construct the Padma Bridge with the country’s own resources. “The fund was allocated in the budget for Padma Bridge, when the World Bank withdrew its finance. The political challenge was made by the Prime Minister. They committed Tk 28000 crore to construct Padma Bridge,” he said. Rehman Sobhan, however, doubted whether Bangladesh would be able to do the same if the global community withdraws all assistances and does not invest any significant money in mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts. Prof Sobhan found solving the problem of environmental pollution as a challenge for Bangladesh and added that the whole nation wants something to be done here, ‘but it’s a serious problem why nothing could be done’. Citing the delay in tannery relocation from the capital’s Hazaribagh, he said the drama is going on relocation of the Hazaribagh tanneries, while Hazaribagh is being polluted with effluents. CPD Executive Director Dr Mustafizur Rahman delivered introductory speech at the function.