Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi-British scientist who gained renown as a “climate revolutionary” for his efforts to make high-polluting countries help the world’s poorest and most vulnerable states deal with the devastating impacts of climate change has passed away in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. He was 71.
Early Life and Background
Saleemul Huq was born in Karachi, Pakistan, on Oct. 2, 1952, to parents who worked in the Pakistani diplomatic service before Bangladesh, formerly East Pakistan, gained independence after a 1971 war. He grew up in Europe, Asia, and Africa due to his parents’ diplomatic postings and moved to Britain in the 1970s to study at Imperial College London, where he received a doctorate in botany in 1978.
A Pioneering Vision
Amid calls for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions that have been warming the planet and intensifying extreme weather events such as droughts, cyclones, and floods, Dr. Huq focused on ways to adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects. He was also a leading advocate of requiring the world’s most developed, industrialized nations – those producing the most emissions – to compensate poorer countries for “loss and damage” from climate change.
Advocate for “Loss and Damage”
Dr. Huq attended all 27 Conference of the Parties (COP) talks of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. Last November, at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, he was instrumental in obtaining an agreement to establish a loss and damage fund. This accord culminated a 30-year quest to set up a fund separate from money used to help countries adapt to climate change.
Over the years, Dr. Huq contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. vice president Al Gore for their work on spreading knowledge of man-made global warming. Last year, Dr. Huq was honored with the Order of the British Empire for his efforts to combat climate change.
Saleemul Huq’s Enduring Legacy
Dr. Huq worked to raise awareness of the needs of communities that are “already impacted and going to be impacted” by climate change. Saleemul Huq’s tireless efforts to address climate change and advocate for the most vulnerable nations have left an indelible mark on the world.