How is it possible to declare a ‘climate crisis’?

August 24, Kathmandu. As the date of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP-27) draws near, the Ministry of Forests and Environment is planning to attract the attention of the world by declaring a ‘climate emergency’.

Forest and Environment Minister Pradeep Yadav said that during the discussion to decide on the issues to be presented by Nepal in the COP-27 to be held in Egypt from November 6 to 18, preparations to declare a ‘climate crisis’ in Nepal. Its being done.

Climate change is affecting all areas of Nepal including mountains, agriculture and water resources. The time has come to attract the attention of the world by declaring a climate crisis in Nepal. We are preparing for it”, he said.

However, the ministry has just started its study. The head of the ministry’s climate department, Buddhisagar Poudel, said that the study and technical preparations for the declaration of the crisis are underway. “The ministry is making technical preparations,” said division chief Poudel.

Various national and international organizations are constantly warning that Nepal is at high risk of climate change. According to Germanwatch, an international organization that maintains data on the risks from climate change, Nepal is now in the tenth country at high risk due to climate change.

However, declaring a crisis is not so easy. For that, evidence is needed on the basis of facts. So far, the government does not have exact figures on how much damage has been caused by climate change, and there are no plans on how to implement it after the declaration of emergency.

Although the country has been facing environmental and climate related problems for a long time, the government is discussing the issue of declaration of emergency with relevant agencies and experts during the preparation of COP-27 itself. Experts have started to express concerns about the impact, impact and implementation after the declaration of the ‘crisis’.

On what basis should emergency be declared?

So far 39 countries of the world have declared climate crisis. Some countries have made such announcements from the House, some from the Council of Ministers or from various levels and agencies of the state. Although many countries say the crisis has begun, they have yet to announce it. However, he has given priority to climate-related problems.

Poudel, the head of the climate division of the Ministry of Forests, says that since the United Nations (UN) has already said that the crisis has started around the world, the ministry has come to the conclusion that high-risk countries like Nepal should also be focused. should do. On this.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations has said that not only climate change but the crisis has begun. Various reports also state that, ‘he says,’ initiatives are being taken everywhere to prioritize this work and go into action. He says that since Nepal has also given it a high priority, the ministry has started preparations for the declaration of emergency.

Natural disasters are repeated every year in Nepal. Every year there is a drought, sometimes due to heavy rains, due to the problem of floods and landslides, huge amount of money is lost. In the last few years, problems like melting of snow in the mountains and problem of drinking water and irrigation in Madhesh and hills are increasing.

Climatic expert Manjit Dhakal says that although there is no specific criteria for declaring a crisis period, because the effects of climate change are being viewed sensitively, but there is also a situation that it can be done after or before the accident. must be declared.

“It’s a matter of making all the preparations first and making the announcement or after making the announcement,” he says. The risk now is greater than what is on us now. He says that according to the international commitment, the temperature of the earth should not rise above 1.5 degrees, but the melting of a third of the ice on Nepal’s 10 biggest snow peaks, which are more than 8000 meters, shows how much The crisis is here.

However, climate expert Bimal Regmi says Nepal lacks enough scientific evidence to show that a period of crisis needs to be imposed.

He said that even though some political leaders say they understand and act, they should be encouraged, but they should be able to explain to the national and international community the scientific facts on the basis of which they took this decision.

Similarly, Harin Nepal, an organization working on climate change, met Minister Yadav and requested him to declare a state of emergency. The organization’s president Tanuja Pandey said that the organization informed Minister Yadav about the need to declare a state of emergency immediately citing various grounds.

Taking as an example the disaster seen in a Hindu-Kush region such as Nepal, he argues that Nepal should act on it from now on. Let’s look at Pakistan as an example. Where recently property worth billions and more than a thousand lives have been lost. If you look at our political stability, economic condition and geography, it is similar to Pakistan’, she says, adding, ‘Pakistan didn’t even expect this to happen. Now that the damage has been done, neither the state has the resources nor the outside support. The situation is the same in Nepal as well.

He says that now that the climate crisis has been declared, the government should give priority to the situation while making every policy. However, climate expert Bimal Regmi says Nepal lacks enough scientific evidence to show that a period of crisis needs to be imposed. They argue that instead of declaring a crisis, preparations should be started.

“This is not to ignore the fact that the climate problem is complex and must be solved,” he says.

However, Regmi says that the damage caused by floods and landslides every year in the absence of monsoon rains cannot be ignored. However, he says that imposing a crisis will not solve these problems and will also increase the burden on the state, so we should also see what other countries have done.

“We have 20/22 vulnerable glaciers. If they started to erupt, it could have been grounds for imposing a state of emergency, he says. Organs would have been mobilized to inform people and take appropriate steps. That situation no longer exists.’

He says there is a need for at least ‘ground standards’ that can show that a certain percentage of the country’s GDP has been lost and this is due to the climate.

lack of policy enforcement

Experts are more concerned about the impact and implications of a declaration of emergency. It should not be removed within 6 months or a year after the declaration of emergency. That is, it is not decided how long it will be worn.

After the declaration of the climate crisis, there is a need to pay equal attention to the economy and the lifestyle associated with it. In such a situation, some industries polluting the environment may have to be closed, while vehicles that pollute the air may have to be banned.

The Constitution of Nepal does not have a separate provision only for climate related crisis. In such a situation, when emergency comes into force, apart from the fundamental rights provided in the constitution, some rules and laws automatically get suspended. It is also necessary to pay attention to the impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

Green Nepal’s President and climate activist Pandey says that a law should be made for this and the government should be serious to solve the current crisis. ‘Our current constitution does not envisage imposition of the climate crisis. However, when the crisis deepens, it has to settle at some point. So, policy makers should look into this matter now’, she says.

They argue that if a crisis is declared and the state proceeds, the issue of climate should be given priority in every policy and regulation, so it should not be delayed. Climate expert Dhakal says that there is still enough room for preparation.

“We do not have the leadership to analyze the scientific facts after declaring a crisis, to tell what is the difference between this crisis and other crises,” he says. Shortage of subject experts is also a problem. It should not be taken in a negative way, but there is room for preparation.

He said that although it is possible to focus on the interests of the international community and reap long-term benefits for at-risk groups such as farmers, trade and tourism, it may not have an impact on the ongoing development process. Ignored.

“Declaring an emergency, investing in petroleum pipelines and allowing trees to be cut for development would be considered a dual character,” he says.

Another expert, Regmi, also says that the complexities of the crisis should be taken into account. “Let’s declare a crisis, then we have to mobilize the sensitive state agencies from the security agencies,” he says, “we don’t have the capacity to bear that financial burden.”

He said that everyone should be insured in case of damages due to climate, but since the relief grant would be very less, the liability of the state would increase a lot and the government would not be able to maintain it in the present situation. Poudel, joint secretary of the ministry, says that they are also studying the complexities arising in times of crisis.

wish for grant

Big rich countries, which are considered to be the cause of climate change, have an obligation to provide financial assistance to countries like Nepal to solve such crises. So far, support is pouring in from various donor agencies and countries to address environmental problems, including climate.

However, big countries are not spending according to the standards set in it. On the contrary it is being criticized that donor agencies like the World Bank are raising the debt burden through various means.

Just last Monday, the World Bank and the Government of Nepal signed a USD 100 million loan agreement under the title Green, Uplifting and Inclusive Development (GRID). The agreement was signed by the World Bank with the Ministry of Finance and not with the Ministry of Forests and Environment. In such a case it has been criticized for adding credit to the grant-in-aid requirement.

According to experts, taking loans in this matter is not in line with Nepal’s fixed policy, international recognition on climate finance and Nepal’s stand on the international stage. Activist Pandey says that the donation agencies are trying to put the grant that Nepal should get in the form of a loan.

“It is our right and we should get it as a grant,” says Pandey. He says that if the climate crisis is declared then it will be easier to claim rights. The rich countries, which play a major role in climate pollution, are obliged to give a subsidy of one thousand million US dollars to Nepal every year.

Climate expert Regmi expressed doubts that current world politics would lead to such support. ‘It is their responsibility to shift the financial system to increase our capacity.

As they are hesitant to meet their obligations, we are not getting enough support,” he says. “Recently, subsidies have also come down on the pretext that the economy is due to the Covid pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia war. It’s broken.”

This is why most bilateral and tripartite donor agencies are withdrawing their hand from Nepal, Regmi says.

Source: OnlineKhabar

Himal Sanchar