Climate change is an additional burden to Nepal. Its contribution to the global share of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is less than 1 per cent. Nonetheless, it is regarded as one of the most vulnerable countries to its impact. Nepal already faces risks of glacier lakes outburst floods, distorted monsoons, exceptional flooding, and landslides attributed to climate change. Nepal has no option but to adapt to these risks. To address these problems, Nepal has taken several policy and institutional measures and invests over 5 per cent of the national budget in climate change interventions.
One of the areas that Nepal has heavily invested in is the promotion of renewable energy (RE) technologies in the country. Small-scale RE provides quick and cheap energy suitable for Nepal’s rural context. Nepal has prioritized technologies like micro hydropower, biogas plants, solar, biomass, and wind. These technologies contribute to reducing carbon emissions, while avoiding the problems of mega energy projects, which can be environmentally unsound, costly, and time consuming.
Nepal’s CO2 emissions are insignificant. However, adopting a climate resilient and low carbon development model to ensure environmental sustainability and economic development is in Nepal’s interest. Nepal should not follow the same carbon-intensive, Western-style development model, but rather embrace a different path that is environmentally friendly and sustainable. To some extent, this has already been realized by national policymakers and there has been some progress; nevertheless, much more needs to be done. International development partners can be a real crusader in this endeavour.
(The article by Director of Prakriti Resources Centre, Mr. Raju Pandit Chhetri, was published in "Pioneers of Change". For details on the article, see: http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/iez/11664.pdf )