Friday, 3 December, 2021

Fulfil Climate Pledges

Situated along the southern slopes of the Himalayan mountains, Nepal boasts of distinct identity with towering peaks in the world. The Himalayan range has been source of civilisation, livelihoods and ecological system for centuries. The world’s tallest peak, Sagaramath (Mt. Everest), and scores of other mountains lie in this country. In a globalised world, these shiny mountains are of great attraction for the tourists engrossed in exploring thrill, joy and adventure amidst the beauties and wonders of nature. But these Himalayas are facing existential crisis owing to the rising temperature caused by the climate change. The world’s youngest mountains are losing their sheen and charm, because of global warming, the result of fossil fuel burning. Rich industrialised nations have largest share in the emissions of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases while Nepal’s emission contribution is negligible.

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emitted from the burning of oil, coal and natural gas have trapped heat in the atmosphere, increasing global warming at an alarming rate. As the Himalayan region is coming under the onslaught of growing temperature, Nepal is left with resource crunch to deal with the adverse impacts of climate change. Nepal and other mountainous nations may not be able act on their own to deal with this worrisome phenomenon without international support on financing, technology transfer and capacity building. The recent UN climate conference known as COP-26 in Glasgow of the United Kingdom talked much about the dangerous consequences of the climate change and the need to mitigate its impacts but its outcomes remained quite modest. The Glasgow Climate Pact has rolled out plan to cut the use of coal that emits large amount of greenhouse gases.

The impact of global warming has been seen in higher degree in the Himalayan mountains than the global average. One third of snow in the Himalayas will melt down even when the global temperature is kept within 1.5 degrees. Of late Nepal has witnessed extreme climate events – receding of glaciers and snowfall, abnormal rainfall and rain rated disasters of unprecedented kind. While drawing the global attention toward vulnerability of mountains, Nepal has presented an ambitious action plan to fight the climate change. She will begin to cut emissions from 2022 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2045, increase forest cover to 45 per cent from 37.4 per cent by 2030 and protect all vulnerable people from climate change by 2030. Nepal has focused on generating clean energy to replace the fossil fuel sources, which include promoting the use of electric vehicles and appliances.

The nation needs financial assistance to meet its climate commitment and deal with the crisis. Polluter pays is the rule of climate justice and without international climate financing, poor and vulnerable countries cannot deal with the crisis on their own. Rich and developed nations should make their contributions to climate fund and help vulnerable nations to adapt to the climate change impacts. The developed nations should fulfil their commitment to channelling USD 100 billion a year to help the affected nations adapt to the climate changes and decrease further temperature rises. In the COP-26, nations spelled out their climate problems and pledges. The pledges have to be met first so that problems can be tackled in fair way. Faltering in action will only lead to more disastrous consequences.