By Terisa. Tamang
The general agreement that Climate Change stays below 1.5 degree Celsius is impacting Nepal rather disproportionately compared to its size and its own meagre contribution of the greenhouse gases. However, given its location between two rapidly growing economies of India and China, Nepal cannot escape the rapidly increasing influence of climate and global changes. Nepal, a landlocked country which is surrounded by mountainous endowed with natural diversity,glaciers, lakes, perennial rivers, is one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Nepal’s mountainous and challenging topography and socio-economic conditions (ranked 145 on the Human development Index, nearly one-fourth of its population living below poverty line) make it a highly vulnerable country to climate change.(Nepal INDC_2016).
World’s highest peak Mount Everest which is lies in Nepal.Apa Sherpa who climbed Mount Everest 21 times said “in 1989 when I first climbed Everest there was a lot of snow and ice but now that’s not the case now there is chance of rockfalls which is danger to the climbers.” He said that climbing has become much more dangerous due to the mix of rocks and ice, as the crampons that climbers must wear are incredibly slippery on bare rock. Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change, water-induced disasters and hydro-meteorological extreme events such as droughts, storms, floods, inundation, landslides, debris flow, soil erosion and avalanche.
The warming has diverse impacts on ecosystems and biological behaviours. Some widely discussed impacts include snow melting and glacier retreat, drought and desertification, flooding, frequent fire, sea level rise, species shifts, and heightened diseases incidence. These ecological and biological responses can consequently lead to serious consequences for human wellbeing. Before talking about Nepal, it is important to discuss theoretical underpinnings of global warming and cite some examplesfrom other parts of the world. Global warming is a globally distributed challenge and its consequences are widespread and alarming, with the nature and intensity of impacts varying over space and time, warming can cause both direct and indirect effects on human health. Morbidity and mortality due to vector‐ borne and water‐related diseases kill 1.5 million people every year (Eriksson 2006). Vectors carrying pathogens causing diseases like malaria, dengue fever, lyme disease and West Nile can very likely become more active and spread out to wider localities under temperature rise. Every year, diseases and natural calamities caused by such changes claim the lives of several people, the majority being poor women and children who lack the capacity to adapt to change. For instance, Diarrhoea kills 28,000 people annually in Nepal and most of the affected are children below age 5 (Eriksson 2006). It is likely that when the weather gets warmer, microorganisms become more active and act more quickly on the foods we eat. In Nepal, changes in monsoon patterns will greatly exacerbate the situation of unacceptable presence of poverty and inequalities of opportunities in the country.
Nepal has three distinct geographies-the snow covered mountains, the mid hills and the tarai (plains)-which embodies this diversity. Its hydrology is fed largely by the South Asian monsoon system (SAM), but the relationship between the timing, volume of monsoon rainfall and the mountain landscape is poorly understood. The dramatic variation in altitude over a short distance has resulted in pronounced orographic effects, effects which severely limit our ability to explain precipitation dynamics in Nepal.
Nepal glacier has decrease by almost 30 % between 1977 and 2015. This amounts to an average annual loss of almost 15 square miles.
Goals to keep temperature under 1.5 Degree Celsius
Climate change will intensify these impacts, leading to potentially large additional economic costs in the future. In order to understand the future effects of climate change better and be able to respond to these climate-related risks accordingly, the study ‘Economic impact assessment of climate change in key
Sectors in Nepal’ was undertaken at the request of the Government of Nepal. Over the past 50 years, the average global temperature has increased at the fastest rate in recorded history according to NASA. Because of global warming ice are melting from mountains which is occurring flood, landslide, affecting human lives. A certain rise in temperature will lead to bursting of the glaciers which are already at a greater risk. The low income & subsistence users of about 38% of total population in Nepal lies below the poverty line and are having hard time to afford for their livelihoods. This is a great challenge to cope with climate change induced hazard & extreme events. In 2016, study from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) found that increase in global temperature have caused.
Our goalis to keep temperature under 1.5 degrees Celsius and to enable our countries to reap benefit economic security, job creation and environmental safety. Giving first importance to Eco-friendly products like leaf plates, maize cover carpets, bamboo furniture etc. which also increase job opportunities. Even in 2015, we were able to ban plastic bags from Nepal and instead of plastic bags we are using a jute bag which is taking good market in Nepal. In 2015, excluding the electricity generated from large hydropower plants, 10.3% of all the global electricity was generated using renewable resources – sun, wind etc… To ensure that this percentage rises radically in the upcoming years, we must make sure that all countries have access to renewable technology.
While generating momentum on this front may be hard for many nations, activists and environmentalists can take comfort in the fact that the struggle is only bound to get easier with time. After all, the era of renewable revolution is almost upon us.
Why Nepal needs to stay below 1.5 degree Celsius limit with concrete impacts?
By Terisa. Tamang