Political Economy of ‘Climate Action Agreements’ In Bangladesh – (Part-I) Shishir Reza


Climate action agreements between local government and industries are key element of environmental protection, Socio-economic development of society, stability of biosphere and individual ecosystems. These kinds of agreements control water, air, soil, radioactive, river, and industrial pollution; ensure land security; monitor forest, manage waste not only in urban level but in grass root level. All types of industries- cement, plastics, agriculture, textiles, manufacturing, food, soap, construction and mining can follow the standard level of pollutants emission and management systems ordered by government agencies. This study explains why the linkage between capacities of local government and industries is essential to control pollutants emission; ensure climatic security. It would also find out means and ways to enhance the potential of local government, to initiate a culture of ‘polluters-to-pay’, build a corporate image through introducing green products and to effectively monitoring environmental degradation. Particularly, it would be aimed at introducing context-centric policy formation and implementation to combine the ecological sustainability and financial development of Bangladesh.

Setting the Scene
Environmental Planning implies the socio-economic development of society as well as stability of biosphere and individual ecosystems. Climate action agreements between local government and industries are important part of environmental management. This kind of agreement ensures environmental justice, systems of polluters-pay and opens the floor for public participation in policy making. A social and politico-economic capital can be built both national and local level through climate action agreements. In Bangladesh, there are 21 ‘Department of Environment’ at district level – mostly incapable to monitor and control environmental pollution. In addition, various authorities positioned in districts, paurashava, city corporation, thana, upazila and union level. Other hand, our motherland is a home of forest resources, water resources, mineral resources, land resources generally placed in local level. But a gap between policy formation and enforcement of environmental regulations is widely characterized by less transparent functioning of environmental institution, poor administrative practices, lack of manpower and active public participation in the grass root level.
Over the last twenty years, Bangladesh has attained a consistent growth in different sectors such as industrialization, infrastructure development, health care, food productivity, social safety net etc. Such sector centered development merely embraced protection of environmental resources and ecologically sound management practices in the development history of the country. Now she is going to establish 100 economic zones at different regional level. But we are far from climate action agreements and related experiences at local level to ensure resilient Bangladesh.
In this context, Bangladesh needs climate action agreements between local government and industries to control and monitor waste and effluent treatment plant operation, waste recycling systems, river encroachment and pollution, radiation of mobile towers, excessive use of agro-chemicals, industries induced air pollution, alien species in forest, commercial cultivation in forest area, land use patterns and of course integrated environmental development. Agreements of climate action can lend a hand for cooperative and integrated approach in environmental security through power sharing strategy among administrative actors and relative decentralization within vertical administration.

Methodology and Literature Review
Data has been collected by studying and reviewing different journals and articles, textbooks, news papers and websites. Primary source includes informal conversation with experts who understand the pros and cons of climate action agreements and capacities of local government in environmental adaptation and resilience.
In Japan, formation and implementation of environmental policy is deeply rooted in political economic structure, social norms and culture which addresses economic growth without compromising environmental protection. In Bangladesh, most of the time we have seen, rural to urban migration, environmental deterioration, food insecurity are caused by climate change. But the crises are also intimately related to land encroachment in forest, clash in char-land, river encroachment, deforestation, violation of eco-industrial laws – anthropogenic basically.
The potent combination of industrialization, urban development and mass consumption trends is exacerbated by foreign companies operating with little regard for the impact on the local environment. During the period of rapid economic growth after the Second World War, Japan experienced a variety of terrible environmental problems on a scale unprecedented in the world. Cooperative enforcement based on networking and close information exchange between government and industries lowered the cost of compliance (Hidefumi, 2008).
Toshionari (2008) identifies power sharing strategies among different stakeholders. Such as role of Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in planning and drafting of agricultural policy aimed at conservation of the environment, environmental conservation related to livestock, Prevention of the pollution of soil used as agricultural land; forestry agency to conservation of forests; Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to prevent of industrial pollution, recycling of waste generated by industrial activities; Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism to environmental conservation as linked to social capital provision, sewerage installation and maintenance , prevention of automobile pollution, prevention of marine pollution, measures to counter aircraft noise; Japan Meteorological Agency to observe of the ozone layer, collection of data on greenhouse gases, etc.
Historical trends of environmental movement in Bangladesh was initiated by the national commitment of the country to Stockholm Conventions in 1972 which preceded the formulation of first Water Pollution Control Ordinance in 1973 followed by Environment Pollution Control Ordinance in 1977. In 1985, Department of Pollution Control Ordinance was established which subsequently renamed and structured as Department of Environment (DOE). The idea of environmental protection through national efforts was first recognized and declared with the adoption of the Environmental Policy 1992. Since the beginning of such interventions very few of the Environment Policy directives and guidelines have been translated into action. Till to date, Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act (ECA) 1995 serves as the only legal basis for Environment Conservation Rules (1997) that specifically deals with conservation and improvement of environmental standards for controlling and mitigating environmental pollution.
To reinforce the policy, Environment Conservation Rules (1997) was subsequently amended in 2000. For the implementation and leadership, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) was assigned to play the role of lead agency. A National Environmental Committee was created with the Prime Minister as the as the Chairperson to give overall direction for implementation of this policy. However, various research studies have noted that the implementation of such policy initiatives and legislative measures have been hindered due to some institutional and functional limitations (Khan, and Belal 1999, Hanchett, 1997). Hence, the present situation calls for a periodic review, amendment, modification, reformation and proper implementation of the existing policies, acts, rules and regulation as part of the environmental management strategies with a view to address integrated and sustainable development of the country.
Decentralization is very important to any kind of development. It reduces the pressure from the national government. Relative decentralization of both authority and responsibility has been a key feature of Japanese environmental management at national level. Local governments are also doing effectively when it comes to dealing with specific environmental problems and issues. In Japan, today, over 70 percent of Japanese enterprises have a pollution control department. There are at present about 23,000 pollution control supervisors and 40,000 pollution control managers. The modern Japanese business structure actually originated from family-based companies. “Do as ordered from the top” is a very popular corporate culture. They make it as a corporate culture.
When government, business and the public? participate in environmental management according to their own functions and responsibilities, this is defined as the triangular model of actors. The government acts as a regulator and monitor; business as a self-governing and policy implementing body; and the public as a participant in environmental policymaking, by acting as a social supervisor as well as an actor protecting the environment through lifestyle changes.

Matrices of Climatic Insurgency
in Bangladesh
Climate Change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which defines “climate change” as: ‘change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural variability observed over comparable time periods”. In Bangladesh there are four prominent climatic seasons, namely, winter (Dec.-Feb.), Pre-monsoon (March-May), Monsoon (June-Sep.) and Post-monsoon (Oct.-Nov.). The monsoon has its onset during the first week of June and in the first week of October. However, the onset and withdrawal dates vary from year to year.
In all points of the world, one-year, one decade, one country differs from another. Temperature variations from year to year and from epoch to epoch generally increase towards high latitudes. Rainfall variations are greatest in low latitudes, where the heaviest individual falls occur, rain and snowfall varies most in and near the warm and cold deserts of the tropics and Polar Regions. The most recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that global average surface temperature would increase by between 1.4 to 5.8°C over the period 1990 to 2100, while sea-levels could rise by between 9 and 88 centimeters. The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events – including droughts, storms and floods – could result in crop damage and land degradation. Crop yields vary considerably according to temperature. Rainfall is the single most important climatic parameter influencing agriculture of our country since some 75 to 80% of the cultivated land is non-irrigated. This is the free source of water directly and most uniformly available to crop and the foliage. But it can be utilized most efficiently by reducing its harmful effect and increasing beneficial outcomes.
Bangladesh has a tropical monsoon type climate, with a hot and rainy summer and a pronounced dry season in the cooler months. January is the coolest month of the year, with the temperature ranging 13.5°C to 26.5°C, and April the warmest month, with the temperature ranging 33°C and 36°C. In rare cases the temperature goes down less than 50°C but never touches freezing point.It is evident that, our region has been getting warmer. According to the climatic situation, Bangladesh may be divided into following climatic sub-regions: a) South-eastern zone, b) North-eastern zone, c) Northern part of the northern region, d) North-western zone, e) Western zone, f) South-western zone, and f) South-central zone.
The annual mean temperature over Bangladesh has a slight increasing trend during the whole period of 1961-90, but the trend is not statistically significant. Karmakar and Shrestha (2000) reported that the present 5-year running average trends of climate elements continue, the annual mean maximum temperature was likely to rise by 0.48°C and 0.88°C by 2050 and 2100 years respectively whereas the annual mean minimum temperature was likely to decrease by 0.66°C and 0.11°C by 2050 and 2100 years respectively. But the overall annual mean temperature over Bangladesh was likely to increase by 0.21°C and 0.39°C by 2050 and 2100 years, respectively. In some places in Rajshahi and Kusthia districts the maximum temperature in summer season rises up to 40°C or more. After April, temperature decreases slightly during the summer months, which coincides with the rainy season.

Scarcity and Surplus
Rainfall & Humidity
Monsoon and winter seasons are separated by two transitional seasons namely pre-monsoon and post-monsoon. However, life-giving rain comes during south-west monsoon accounting for over 70% of the total annual rainfall. It is to be noted that the high lands situated to the east and north of Bangladesh play their due role to this monsoonal rain. Hussain (2001) found that the mean annual rainfall was 2387.20 mm from 1975 to 1995. May to September were the highest rainfall months when the rainfall more than 300 mm in over 63.80% of the years and always more than 50 mm white May to June could be useful for kharif (April to September ) sowing. The prediction models for drought of different meteorological variables in Bangladesh. Sylhet is the heavy rainfall region in Bangladesh. In the month of April and May, Sylhet receives 340 mm and 650 mm rain respectively. Lalkhan, the north-east border of Sylhet receives 560 mm and 600 mm rainfall in the month of April and May respectively. The social and economic conditions of million of the people of the subcontinent are largely dependent upon this rainfall. More than 70% of Bangladesh’s annual rainfall occurs in the monsoon (June- September) season. The mean rainfall during the monsoon season ranges from 1000 mm to 3000 mm in the country. The maximum rainfall occurs at Sylhet in the north-eastern part and along the coastline in the southern part and with a minimum in the west central part.
Only for individual months of November, December January and February Bangladesh falls in aridity condition. In March, whole country except Sylhet, Rangamati, Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar falls in arid zone. The annual most of the monsoon precipitation occurs during July and August. Sylhet shows very high monsoon precipitation and Rajshahi shows a relatively low monsoon precipitation compared to the other stations. Amin (2004) analyzed the period between May to October was surplus period for rainfall and generally no problem with agricultural and other water-base activities in Bangladesh. The months from November to March and in some instant up to April were deficit period for rainfall.Rainfall at 50% and 80% probability with respect to crop demand was almost scarce throughout the crop season. The irrigation water requirement during different months of the crops growing period is a function of rainfall deficits in those months for planning an irrigation water supply system. Thus, rainfall deficit information for different areas and periods can greatly help in determine optimal water release from a reservoir in accordance with demand, when rainfall exceeds evaporation, soil moistures reserves are recharged till filed capacity is reached and any further rainfall is termed as surplus. When rainfall is less than evaporation, soil moisture is utilized and rainfall deficit conditions occurred. The rainfall deficits are functions of time.In the year 1957, 1958, 1972 and 1979 longer dry season than the normal is recorded in Bangladesh. In 1966 and 1967, however, the duration of dry season is less than the normal. During the drought years (1957, 1958, T966, 1967, 1972 and 1979) the highest values of duration of dry season are observed in the northern and western parts of the country.
In north region of Bangladesh, the annual average humidity showed increasing trend. Annual average maximum humidity over the period of study is 216.75% and annual average minimum humidity over the period of study is 71.92%. Analyzing the last 57 years (1960-2017) average humidity data, we find the average annual humidity is fluctuating. From 1960 to 2006 the average rainfall is augmenting but after 2006 to present the average rainfall is gradually decreasing.
The author is an Environmental Analyst & Associate Member, Bangladesh Economic Association