Implement climate change-related programmes: MoFAGA

Government’s recent act shows nothing but fear of contempt of court charge 

Kathmandu, February 24

More than a year after the Supreme Court issued a full text of its order asking the government to address the issues of climate change in the country and to formulate a separate act on climate change, the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration yesterday wrote a letter to all the local levels across the country to implement programmes related to climate change issues as per the existing laws.

Environmentalists and stakeholders have, however, expressed doubt that the government move will bring any desired results as the government is yet to formulate the climate change act. They say that MoFAGA’s letter will create more confusion at the local level.

On 25 December 2018, the SC had ordered the government to formulate specific laws on climate change and urged the government and its bodies to work as per the existing environment and forest related acts and regulations until the new act was enforced.

But despite the apex court’s order, the government has not shown interest in formulating a separate act on climate change yet. After the government’s inaction on the SC’s order, advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha, who had, earlier, filed a writ against the government and 15 other government bodies, filed a complaint at the SC’s Judgment Execution Directorate.

Following the complaint, the MoFAGA yesterday wrote to all the local levels to implement the programmes on climate change issues as per the existing laws.

“The government’s recent act is nothing but the fear of facing contempt of court charge. If the government was really serious about this issue, it should have come up with concrete plans and policies to address the problem,” Shrestha said.

Santosh Kafle, head of Environment, Sanitation and Disaster Management Section at Namobuddha Municipality, Kavre, said that if there were federal laws on climate change, the local governments would have formulated their laws on the same basis, but in the absence of federal laws, local levels could do nothing in this regard. He further added that many local governments were in confusion regarding implementation of the programmes related to climate change issues.

Expressing similar views, climate change expert Manjeet Dhakal said the government should understand that addressing the issues of climate change was very important for sustainable development and economic prosperity.

“It is unfortunate that we don’t have any climate change related laws in the country till date.

A carefully drafted climate change act can be a very important tool for economic development, but the government has clearly failed to realise this.”

According to Dhakal, in monetary terms Nepal imports fossil fuels that are 200 per cent more than the total amount its exports. So, encouraging electricity- run industries or vehicles will not only reduce the import of fossil fuels, it will create more job opportunities in the country and lead to obvious reduction in carbon emission. Carbon emission is considered one of the major causes of climate change.