Nepal’s Efforts to Mitigate Climate Change
Nepal is promoting cycling as a clean mode of transportation, says Honorable Minister for Population and Environment (MOPE) Mr. Vishwendra Paswan during a radio interview with Mr. PT Lopchan for the radio program ‘Jalwayu Pariwartan’. Mr. Lopchan interacted with Mr. Vijoy Mallick, Secretary for the MOPE and Mr. Yugan Manandhar from WWF Nepal regarding climate change mitigation and Nepal’s efforts, the following is an excerpt of the interaction.
Do you cycle in day-to day life or just during some occasions?
Hon’ble Minister: I cycle in my daily life and currently, I am promoting cycling as part of the ‘environment-friendly national initiative’. It is linked with health, prosperity and environment. In Nepal, about 70 percent of Terai people use cycling for transportation needs. To encourage environmentally friendly transportation, the Ministry is planning to distribute about 20,000 bicycles to students and needy people in Terai. In addition, we think there should be an interest-free loan and government subsidies to allow I cycle in my daily life and currently, I am promoting cycling as part of the ‘environment-friendly national initiative’. It is linked with health, prosperity and environment. In Nepal, about 70 percent of Terai people use cycling for transportation needs. To encourage environmentally friendly transportation, the Ministry is planning to distribute about 20,000 bicycles to students and needy people in Terai. In addition, we think there should be an interest-free loan and government subsidies to allow disadvantaged groups to purchase bicycles. We believe every citizen including labor, civil servants, and the poor should have access to bicycles so that it is adopted as clean transportation by everyone.
However, Nepal does not have cycle lane and it is risky to cycle on the road, in this context what could be done?
Hon’ble Minister: MOPE has taken the initiative to construct bicycle paths on major urban roads, and a committee was formed to suggest in this issue. The committee has already submitted a report, which is under the implementation process. MOPE is coordinating with the concerned stakeholders for the bicycle path. The Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport has committed to put a bicycle lane in all new roads under construction.
What could be measures to reduce pollution from brick factories and vehicle?
Mr. Mallick: Definitely we need vehicles and brick, but there are technologies to reduce emission from these sectors too. We need to adopt such technologies. For example, proper maintenance, high standard vehicles can reduce emission. Similarly, brick factories can built chimney with new technology.
What is plan of the Ministry for carbon emission reduction?
Mr. Mallick: Nepal emits very less carbon compared to other countries. However, reduction is carbon emission is equally good for us. The ministry has initiated environment-friendly behavior and technologies. For example, the ministry is working on clean carbon initiative and preparation of National Adaptation Plan (NAP), at the same time, Department of Environment is controlling pollution level.
What can be done by least developed countries such as Nepal to mitigate climate change?
Mr. Manandhar: To mitigate climate change, we need to look at those sectors having the most impact on emissions including energy, industrialization and transportation. Though Nepal does not generate energy from coal, most of the countries use it as key sources of energy that contributes to GHG emission. Learning from this, Nepal should adopt alternative and clean sources of energy rather than coal. Cycling, public transport and electric vehicles can be promoted in the transportation sector.
What should be considered during industrialization for climate change mitigation?
Mr. Manandhar: If we talk about industrialization in Nepal, Nepal itself in early stage of industrialization and does not use coal as source of energy. However, in developing and developed countries, coal is basic energy source for industries. In Nepal, one industry has used rice husk as an alternative to coal. Industries can shift to clean energy or energy mix such as solar for day time and electricity for night. Further, they can adopt environment-friendly technologies in addition to clean energy.
Is there any alternates to industries for greenhouse gas reduction besides shifting energy source?
Mr. Manandhar: If an industry cannot shift to alternative energy source, they can consider efficient usage of energy. It would increase productivity and reduce GHG emission. Definitely, coal being the cheapest source of energy, industries may find it hard to adopt other more expensive sources of energy. Even in this case, industries can consider effective and efficient usage of coal, so that they less contribute to climate change.
How can we reduce carbon emission from housing and urban sector?
Mr. Manandhar: Unlike most other developing and developed countries, Nepal, at present, is not using high levels of energy for heating and cooling to maintain temperature. But as Nepal urbanizes, more buildings are being constructed using types of concrete that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and result in buildings that are less climate friendly, trapping heat in summer and cold in winter. If household can use climate-friend construction materials, energy efficient building design and alternative and efficient energy it would support reduction of GHG emission to some extent. For example, we follow green home concepts such as using double panel windows so that comfortable in-house temperatures can be maintained without relying on energy sources for heating and cooling.
Most of the stakeholders in the climate change sector advocate for plantation? Does plantation help to reduce carbon emission or is it just sync carbon?
Mr. Manandhar: For improvement in climate condition, we have to reduce carbon emissions. It can be done either by reduction in emission source or by creating more carbon sync. Plants are the most efficient and fastest natural carbon sync agents, and creating green spaces is the best way to create carbon syncs.