Climate change in Nepal and 1.5 degrees
Posted by NYCA Blogger on September 9, 2016
Ms. Parbati Pandey
Nepal, a landlocked and a mountainous country endowed with natural diversity, glaciers, lakes, perennial rivers, is one of the best tourist destination in the world . Also, it is fourth most vulnerable country due to the impacts of climate change despite of its nominal share of mere 0.027 % of the global greenhouse gas emissions. If you see this from a layman’s perspectives, in no time you’ll find it as the punishment for the crime which was not committed.
Nepal’s mountainous and challenging topography and socio-economic conditions ( ranks 145 on the Human development Index, nearly one-fourth of its population live below poverty line) make it a highly vulnerable country to climate change.(Nepal INDC_2016)
The impacts of climate change are already visible in Nepal as the people have witnessed unusual weather patterns, dry and wet landslides and also unusual rainfall patterns .The snow clad mountains are gradually fading off, frequent avalanches and Glacial Lake Outburst floods have killed many lives and affected the livelihoods of the communities residing in that area . Likewise, altogether 14 glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) have happened between 1935 & 1991 in Nepal. In total, 21 GLOFs have been identified as being potentially dangerous at present. A certain rise in temperature will lead to the bursting of the glaciers which are already at a greater risk. The low income & subsistence users of about 38% of total population Nepal lies below the poverty line and are having hard time to afford for their livelihoods in Nepal. This is a great challenge to cope with climate change induced hazard & extreme events. The livelihoods of more than 80% local people in Nepal are heavily depending on climate sensitive area such as agriculture, forest and livestock and on other natural resources such as water & irrigation. So, certain change in the climatic patterns will ultimately leave a huge impact .
According to NASA, July 2016 has been the warmest July in 136 years of modern record-keeping, and “it appears almost a certainty that 2016 also will be the warmest year on record”. If the temperature continues to rise in this rate, there will be a time when Nepal will lose its pride as a mountainous country along with the scarcity of water and thus affecting the livelihood of the people all over Asia( Himalayas are considered as the water towers of Asia). More than 1.4 billion people depend on water from the rivers of the Himalaya. Glacier melt is only 4 percent of the annual 220,000 billion cubic meters of flow for the rivers of Nepal.
Last year in Paris, the international community agreed to keep temperature “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature to 1.5°C. We can take this as a resounding success if the same focus is kept in the implementation phase as well. The decision taken by US and China to ratify the Paris Agreement is praiseworthy and we want other higher emitters to move on the same track.Keeping the temperature rise to below 1.5°C is a dire need not only for Nepal but for every countries that are more vulnerable and with less coping capacities to the changing climate.
1.Mool, PK; Bajracharya, SR; Joshi, SP (2001)Inventory of Glaciers, glacial lakes, glacial lake outburst floods monitoring and early warning system in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, Nepal. Kathmandu, Nepal:ICIMOD