TOPICS: Climate change threat

Climate change increases the severity of extreme weather events causing damage to property and livelihoods.

Scientists warn that the world’s climate is changing because of rising greenhouse gas emissions that might end up warming the planet by well over 2 degrees. Nepal has already encountered some of the negative effects of global climate change.

Its total GHG emission share is negligible compared to the global community.

According to the National Communication Report prepared by the Government of Nepal (GON), net emission of CO2 was about 9.747 tons and the net emission of methane was estimated to be 0.948 tons in 1994.

Studies have been made in Nepal in respect of climate change. The study done by “Department of Hydrology and Meteorology” shows that average temperature in Nepal is increasing at a rate of approximately 0.06 degrees Celsius per year.

The temperature in the Himalayas, however, is increasing at a faster rate, which is having serious impacts on the glaciers and glacial lakes – the main source of Nepal’s water resources. The Rika Samba Glacier in the Dhaulagiri region is retreating at a rate of 10 m per year.

This is very unusual as glacial movement is usually measured in millimeters. Similarly the AX010 Glacier of Shorong Himal will be extinct by 2060 if the current trend continues.

UNEP has warned that more than 40 Himalayan glacial lakes are dangerously close to bursting because of the ice melt caused by global warming. Rapidly melting glaciers means more variation in river flow, which will in turn result in more floods and at later stage droughts.

Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) that are occurring more frequently are disastrous to communities and infrastructure. Climatic variability such as change in precipitation intensity and frequency can trigger natural disaster events such as landslides, flash floods, soil erosion and drought.

The loss of top fertile soil due to soil erosion, landslide and floods coupled with negative effects of climate change may adversely reduce agricultural production in country. Nepal is an agrarian country.

So, in the absence of systemic irrigation facility, it has to heavily depend upon natural rainfall (monsoon).

Also disturbances in natural rainfall pattern caused by climate change will be responsible for enhanced food insecurity and threat to Nepalese economy which is basically agriculture dependent.