THT 10 years ago: Himalayas warming since 70s: Report

Kathmandu, July 11, 2006

The Nepali Himalayas warmed about 1°C since the 1970s, almost twice the global average, affecting hundreds of glaciers and glacial lakes, said a release issued today by the World Heritage Center and Greenpeace.

It says the rise in temperature has resulted in the retreat of 67 per cent of Himalayan glaciers, posing risk of outburst flood. This could snowball into economic threat since the region is largely agricultural.

The release quoted a survey of 83 countries which said “125 world heritage sites were... threatened…by climate change, including 19 glacier sites and seven coral reefs worldwide.” It pointed out the need of a mission of experts visiting the sites to suggest damage management.

The petition to have Everest put on the “In Danger” list was also backed by Sir Edmund Hillary. The sites in question are Mount Everest and Sagarmatha National Park (glaciers) in Nepal, the Peruvian Andes (glaciers), Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in the US and Canada and the Great Barrier and Belize Barrier (coral) Reefs.

While the pleas to prevent glacial lakes bursting in the Himalayas and Peru were not taken up, the World Heritage Committee of the UNESCO accommodated the US and Canadian governments’ well known sceptical positions on climate change.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Earth International (FEI), the Climate Justice Programme (CJP) and Greenpeace have resented the lacklustre attitude of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) of the UNESCO.

The threat to the sites was assessed in a survey conducted by the World Heritage Center.

The UNESCO body also ignored the importance of countries significantly reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.

Discouraging growth dogs economic situation

Fiscal year 2005-06 has turned out to be a dismal year in terms of economic performance, due to discouraging growth of agriculture and non-agriculture sector.

Agriculture sector was affected by bad weather and non-agricultural sector was hit hard by transport blockades and poor security situation.

Economic Survey presented in the parliament today states that the share of agricultural sector to gross domestic product (GDP) has decreased to three per cent in 2004-05 compared to 3.9 per cent in 2003- 04.

The survey forecasts that agriculture sector will grow only by 1.7 per cent in the current year. Fiscal deficit in 2004-05 stood at 3.4 per cent of the GDP compared to 3.2 per cent in 2003-04. The government resorted to foreign debt, domestic debt and cash reserves to meet Rs 18.06 billion fiscal deficit in 2004-05 which may go up in 2005-06.

However, the share of non-agriculture sector is expected to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2005-06 compared to 2.1 per cent in 2004-05.