Germany wants stronger partnership with Bangladesh to scale up renewables; efficiency


Germany’s State Secretary and Special Envoy for International Climate Action Jennifer Morgan on Saturday said they are keen to have stronger partnership with Bangladesh to scale up Bangladesh’s renewables and energy efficiency, accelerating the transition efforts.

“We’ve a long history of cooperation with Bangladesh. I’ve come here to listen and learn; and to see what we can do together. I think we’ve much to learn from each other,” she said, noting that multiple benefits clearly come from renewables and efficiency.

At a press conference held in a city hotel together with German Ambassador to Bangladesh Achim Troster, Germany’s first climate envoy said they are running out of time and it is crystal clear that impacts are happening.

“We wish to work with the government of Bangladesh on energy efficiency and to look at how to scale up renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts,” said the German climate envoy.

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report published on April 4 shows growth in global emissions has slowed over the past decade, but much more needs to be done, including halving global emissions by 2030, to keep the goal of 1.5C in reach and avoid the worst impacts of global warming.

The IPCC’s independent report highlights the need for urgent action in decarbonising energy, industry, transport and making homes more energy efficient, to achieve the Paris Agreement’s central goal of keeping a global temperature rise this century to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C.

Morgan, who has lived in Berlin for many years and obtains German citizenship, said she has been “incredibly impressed” by the work of civil societies and NGOs here in Bangladesh and their diversity of approaches, especially those working with the women on the local level. “I think they’re clearly working to help people every single day.”

She said a vibrant civil society is “absolutely essential” for sustainable development and their local knowledge and deep training is just “very impressive.”

“I think we benefit greatly from our partnership with them in many projects and I look forward to seeing more of that,” said Morgan, who has chosen Bangladesh as her first foreign visit since her appointment.

During her April 6-9 visit, she talked to different government and non-government stakeholders, and visited some of the climate vulnerable areas in the country and saw the damage here by the intense cyclone and people’s struggle for fresh water.

“I discussed how we can scale up the change together. We continue to work here together with Bangladesh to support the government to bring climate science into action through different instruments and working with multiple ministries on how climate science can be brought into the planning process,” Morgan said.

She also met both locals and officials in Satkhira district to learn about how they are integrating climate scenarios, adaptation and resilience strength into their plans. “That’s very impressive.”

Talking about the Sundarbans, the climate envoy said the Bangladesh Forest Department is doing a very good job not only monitoring and functions of the Sundarbans but also protecting it from illegal activities. “We’ve seen what they’re doing on the ground to keep the ecosystem intact.”

Morgan said she has much respect for the work that is done here on the adaptation front. “We can learn from Bangladesh on how to deal with the impacts of the climate crisis.”

She said it is clear that Bangladesh will remain a key partner and they are looking at different types of projects as part of partnership on the climate front.

The climate envoy said they are looking at how Bangladesh and Germany can work together bilaterally and also with the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). She said Bangladesh, as a chair of the CVF, has been a leader on climate justice for decades.

The German government is committed to addressing the climate crisis as a top priority and it is clear that dependence on fossil fuels is a danger that they can no longer ignore – for the sake of peace, energy security and planetary security, she said.

Responding to a question, Morgan said their main priority is to work for peace every second and they look at how energy independence, climate security, energy security and peace can come together.

On climate migration, she said it is a highly complex issue and noted that climate migration is happening in Bangladesh from villages to slums and cities.

Morgan laid emphasis on working together and international collaboration to support people.

Earlier in a separate programme, the climate envoy said Germany stands in solidarity with Bangladesh and many other countries facing severe consequences and adaptation needs.

“It’s my particular priority, to get clarity on the adaptation needs and climate risks you are facing, but also the actions you’re already taking – in developing national adaptation and loss and damage plans – as a global leader on the forefront of the climate crisis – so that we can think and act together on the bi-lateral and international levels,” Morgan said.

Bangladesh gas fields burnt $3m worth of gas in the air in 2021


Bangladesh gas fields burnt $3 million worth of natural gas in 2021 in gas flaring, according to a World Bank report published on Thursday.

In 2020, the burnt amount was 14.84 million cubic meters (mcm) worth $1.7 million. The year 2021 saw a 75% rise in gas flaring.

The WB’s 2022 Global Gas Flaring Tracker report says in 2021, 25.93 mcm (916 million cubic ft) of gas was burnt in flaring in Bangladesh, which was equivalent to $2.98 million in sales value.

The amount, though looks meagre in global perspective, matters a lot for Bangladesh which is now forced to buy expensive gas from the spot market to cover up local production shortfalls.

The largest flaring field is Kailastila operated by Petrobangla, burning 18.28 mcm gas, followed by Titas with 5.27 mcm.

Bibiyana and Jalalabad fields, operated by Chevron, burnt 1.8 and 0.58 mcm respectively.

Energy expert and Geologist Professor Dr Badrul Imam, however, found the volume “not significant” compared to the country’s total daily gas production.

He said, “At present we are producing around 2,300 million cubic feet gas per day and around 1 trillion cubic feet annually. So, the amount burnt per year in flares is not that significant.”

Talking about waste reduction, he said finding a solution to it would be possible by knowing in which areas gas fields are now burning the gas and how.

Globally, 144 billion cubic meters of gas worth $16.5 billion and enough to power the whole sub-Saharan Africa was needlessly burnt in flares at upstream oil and gas facilities in 2021, a year that saw a turbulent global energy market, according to the gas flaring report.

Apart from wasting natural resource, the gas flaring, the industry practice of burning natural gas associated with oil and gas extraction, released 400 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions into air, says the report, calling for more efforts to reduce the wastage to conserve gas for productive use as well as check environmental pollution.

Though Russia and USA are among the top 10 flaring countries that accounted for 75% of all gas flaring, Bangladesh has also a role in it.

The oil and gas industry has been continuing the wasteful and polluting practice for the last 160 years due to the absence of a strategy to manage and utilize the gas, the report said.

A range of issues, from market and economic constraints, to a lack of appropriate regulation and political will are also blamed for gas flaring, causing a monumental waste of a valuable natural resource that should either be used for productive purposes, such as generating power, or conserved.

“Ending routine flaring at oil production sites is vital, both to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to conserve the gas for productive purposes—for example, to generate electricity in poor communities who rely on dirtier fuels for their energy needs,” it said.

The conserved gas could potentially displace other more polluting fuels, such as coal and diesel, that generate higher emissions per energy unit, it points out.

Terming gas flaring totally unproductive, it suggested several alternatives to address the routine practice: re-injecting associated gas back into the ground or building the infrastructure needed to capture, store, and transport the associated gas to market.

Governments can put in place effective regulations and policies to incentivize and encourage gas flaring reduction, according to Zero Routine Flaring (ZRF) initiative, jointly launched by the WB and UN with a commitment to end gas flaring by 2030.