Let’s face it: what we do or do not do in Nepal is not going to save the planet. With an annual carbon footprint of 0.12 tons per capita (Qatar’s footprint is 40 tons) Nepal’s contribution to atmospheric carbon is negligible.
But, for the past three years, Nepal has imported Rs20 billion worth of electricity annually from India, generated by coal-fired thermal plants in Bihar, doubling the average Nepali’s carbon footprint.
This is on top of the Rs100 billion worth of diesel, LPG and petrol that Nepal will import from India this fiscal year. The growth in Nepal’s petroleum use is the fastest among South Asia countries, and has more than doubled in the last two years. Since it is all imported, this has increased our trade imbalance with India.
Tree-mendous, Peter Gill
Tourism, aviation, and carbon, Sanghamitra Subba
Yes, there is a need to address historical emissions by industrialised nations that have brought about global heating, and Nepal’s demand in international fora for resources for climate adaptation is fair. But India, China and Indonesia now exceed the total carbon emissions in Europe and North America combined. The Asia-Pacific is now responsible for half of global carbon dioxide emissions.
For Nepal, adaptation and mitigation must now go hand in hand. We need to adapt to erratic weather, extreme rainfall events, and be prepared for future glacial lake outbursts. But Nepal also needs to cut emissions — not just to save its glaciers from disappearing, but to save our economy from collapse.
It’s a jungle out there, Ajaya Dixit
Climate-health emergency, Sonia Awale
We could do with budgetary support to implement national strategies to build up carbon stock and reduce dependence on fossil fuels, but ultimately it is about planning smart and being energy efficient.
It is not that Nepal is not moving in the right direction. It is just that it is not moving fast enough. The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) under Kul Man Ghising got a lot of credit for doing away with power cuts by scrapping the black market in electricity through dedicated circuits and importing the shortfall from India. This monsoon, Nepal actually managed to bank power in India for the first time.
In anticipation of a surge in electric vehicles, NEA plans to install 30 fast-charging stations along highways. Ghising has called on consumers to switch to induction stoves and rice cookers in the kitchen to replace LPG use. It will be cheaper for families, reduce Nepal’s import bill and slash carbon emissions.
Trees, politics and greed, Mukesh Pokharel
The Third Pole is warming faster than expected, Kunda Dixit