CLIMATE CHANGE A Nepalese Perspective
Posted by NYCA Blogger on September 27, 2008
Although, Nepal’s total GHG emission share is negligible compared to the global community, Nepal has already encountered some of the negative effects of global climate change. According to the National Communication Report prepared by the Government of Nepal, net emission of CO2 was about 9.747 tonnes and the net emission of methane was estimated to be 0.948 tonnes in 1994.
Studies done by Department of Hydrology and Meteorology show that average temperature in Nepal is increasing at a rate of approximately 0.06 degrees Celsius per year. The temperature in the Himalayas, however, is increasing at a faster rate, which is having serious impacts on the glaciers and glacial lakes – the main source of Nepal’s water resources. The Rika Samba Glacier in the Dhaulagiri region is retreating at a rate of 10 m per year. This is very unusual as glacial movement is usually measured in millimeters. Similarly the AX010 Glacier of Shorong Himal will be extinct by 2060 if the current trend continues. UNEP has warned that more than 40 Himalayan glacial lakes are dangerously close to bursting because of the ice melt caused by global warming. Rapidly melting glaciers means more variation in river flow, which will in turn result in more floods and at later stage draughts. Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) that are occurring more frequently are disastrous to communities and infrastructure. Climatic variability such as change in precipitation intensity and frequency can trigger natural disaster events such as landslides, flash floods, soil erosion and drought so on.
The loss of top fertile soil due to soil erosion, landslide and floods coupled with negative effects of climate change may adversely reduce agricultural production in country. Nepal being a agrarian country, in the absence of systemic irrigation facility, has to heavily depend upon natural rainfall(monsoon) .So disturbances in natural rainfall pattern caused by climate change will be responsible for enhanced food insecurity and threat for Nepalese economy which is basically agriculture dependent.
Global warming may cause forest damage through migration towards the polar region, changes in their composition, extinction of species. This would affect not only the vast biodiversity of Nepal but also the livelihoods of majority of people who derive fuel, food, fodder, timber and medicines from forest.
The growing risk of Malaria, Kalazar and Japanese Encephalitis is considered as the potential impacts of Climate change on human health as warmer temperature may create favorable conditions for more vectors and germs spread such mosquitoes. Particularly subtropical and warm temperate regions of Nepal would be more vulnerable to Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis and Kalazar
Source: Climate Change and Nepal Prespective CEN factsheet 2007