Ministry ready to tackle vagaries of climate

Kathmandu, March 13:

Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology has identified four sectors, which have been adversely affected by the global climate change.

According to a preliminary report prepared by the Ministry, the effects of climate change have been felt in agriculture, water resources, health and forest sectors.

Minister for Environment, Science and Technology Ganesh Shah said the preliminary study on the impacts of climate change had been completed and that it would take some time to tackle them.

The Ministry is now approaching donors for funds and some of them had already pledged to support the cause, Shah said.

“First we should create awareness among the people and then strongly raise our agenda in international arena,” he added.

The effect of climate change was first felt in water resources. The report said the impacts were likely to be more severe as rising temperature was causing glaciers to melt and retreat faster.

“Glaciers and snow cover have significantly declined in the recent past and are projected to contract further in the future. The glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating faster than any glacier in the world,” the report stated.

The report also projected that the agriculture sector will be further affected by climate change. “Due to uncertainties in climatic behaviours, there is always uncertainty in agriculture production and it keeps on fluctuating. Crop and livestock production are highly dependent on climate and Nepali farming system are very vulnerable to climate change,” Shah said.

High humidity conditions create favourable environment to spread the fungal

and bacterial diseases and some insects might become active and damage crops, eventually leading the country to a famine, according to the report.

Change in disease pattern, shortage of food and nutrients, increasing scarcity of water and increasing incidents of natural disasters induced by climate change might ultimately affect public health, the report stated.

Similarly, rising temperature, glacial retreat and changes in water availability have been bringing about changes in natural bio-diversity, according to the report. Tropical wet forests and rain forests are likely to disappear, the report stated.

Despite the harsh effects of climate change, the Ministry has not prepared any strategic plan to tackle it. The Ministry is still in primary stage to tackle the effects.

Minister Shah informed that the Ministry was organising a minister-level conference of South Asian countries, including China, in September to discuss the impacts of climate change.