Govt sees need for international support to fight climate change

  • 19 million people are likely to be affected by climate change in Nepal

Kathmandu, May 8

The government has said that Nepal needs additional support of the international community to better protect itself from the growing risk of climate change.

A Status Paper on the present condition of forest and environment sector recently released by the Ministry of Forest and Environment says, “Though Nepal’s contribution to climate change is very insignificant, the country is getting more vulnerable to its severe impacts. Bearing this in mind, there is a dire need to call for additional support of the international community to protect the country from the effects of climate change.

According to the paper, Nepal’s greenhouse gas emission is only around 0.027 per cent of total global emissions. Based on the Second National Communication-2015, greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector increasing, and this in industry sector is almost negligible. A larger portion of greenhouse gas emissions is from the agricultural sector, but the emissions due to increased use of fossil fuels have risen over time.

Nepal is one of the least contributors to the emissions of greenhouse gases, but is among the most vulnerable countries to the adverse impacts of climate change. The Climate Change Risk Atlas-2010 has ranked Nepal as the fourth most vulnerable country in the world after Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan.

“About 19 million people are likely to be directly affected by the climate change if this issue is not address in a timely manner,” read the paper.  The paper has also highlighted the deteriorating air quality in major cities like Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Pokhara and Nepalgunj. These cities have PM10 of 193-2,104 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), which is up to 17.5 times higher than National Ambient Air Quality Standard of 120 µg/m3 prescribed by the government.

The World Health Organisation considers air unsafe when average exposure to fine particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5) exceeds 10 µg/m3. Air pollution levels in Kathmandu drastically rise during winter and in the morning.

Vehicular emission is the major cause for deteriorating air quality in the urban areas where it is much aggravated by substandard or adulterated fuel, narrow and poorly maintained streets, poor traffic management, and poor vehicular maintenance. “Vehicular emission contributes 37 per cent to air pollution,” it said. Road dust, open burning and brick kilns are other contributing factors for the rising level of air pollution.