Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: What is global warming / climate change?
Answer: Whenever people burn fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, they produce carbon dioxide gas. More carbon dioxide traps more heat in the earth's atmosphere, making the planet hotter. This is called global warming. Making the planet hotter changes weather everywhere, generally making summers hotter and drier and winters warmer. This long-term change in weather is called climate change.
Question: Will the sea level really rise? Do we know how much?
Answer: Global warming also creates warmer weather at the North and South Poles, and melts the ice in those areas. Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen has written a book, "Storms of my grandchildren: the truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity". On page 13 of his book, he writes:
“Global warming of 2 degrees Celsius or more would make Earth as warm as it had been in the Pliocene, three million years ago. Pliocene warmth caused sea levels to be about twenty five metres (eighty feet) higher than they are today”
A twenty five metre (eighty feet) rise in sea level would submerge almost all of Bangladesh except North Bengal and Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Question: Will global warming dry up rivers?
Answer: Global warming also melts snow and ice in glaciers (frozen rivers) at the top of the Himalayas and other mountain ranges. Rivers flow around the year due to gradual melting of these glaciers, and continue flowing year after year as the ice in the glaciers is replaced by winter snow. As the planet gets warmer, Himalayan glacier ice is likely to melt faster, and Himalayan snow will also fall less frequently and melt quicker. Ultimately, the Himalayan glaciers will melt completely. In that case, most rivers in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal would go dry.
Question: What can we do?
Answer: As long as people keep using fossil fuels, the world will keep getting hotter. All governments of the world have to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy like solar power and wind power. As individuals, we have to join together to persuade our governments to stop using fossil fuels.
Question: If people know that burning coal, oil and gas is so harmful, why do we still use them?
Answer: Fossil fuels are used everywhere because they have been cheaper than solar and wind power. Switching to solar power and wind power also requires a huge investment in solar panels and wind turbines. However, if fossil fuels are taxed, these problems will be solved. Taxing coal, oil and gas makes them more expensive and discourages people from using them. The tax money raised from fossil fuel use could be invested by governments in solar and wind power.
Question: Why are fossil fuels cheaper than renewable energy?
Answer: In many countries, solar and wind power are now cheaper than fossil fuels. However, in Bangladesh the government subsidizes fossil fuels like oil and gas. These subsidies lowers the price of fossil fuels by using taxpayer/government money to pay for part of the cost of fuel. The government does this because they think raising the price of oil and gas will be unpopular. However, these subsidies waste government/taxpayer money which could otherwise be spent on better government schools, hospitals, roads and bridges. Fossil fuel subsidies need to stop.