Kathmandu: Air Pollution Poses Threat to Joggers
By Pratibha Rawal, Republica, 27 March 2013
No one disagrees with the fact that morning walk is beneficial to people, especially those suffering from several ailments like heart diseases. But, worsening air pollution in the Kathmandu valley has posed a grave threat to joggers. “People believe that they benefit from morning walk,” says Dinesh Pokhrel, general secretary of LEADERS Nepal, which conducted a research about the impact of air pollution on people´s health. "Morning walk is undoubtedly beneficial to people. But rising air pollution is not only reducing its benefits, it is fast becoming a threat for joggers´ health." In order to avoid air pollution, most people go jogging before 6 in the morning. But even in the morning, air pollution is beyond the tolerable level, says Pokharel.
This news coverage is part of the main article 'More people take to morning walk to beat heart ailments' reported by Pratibha Rawal. Read the full story here...
Freak Frost Pushes Nepalese Farmers to Insure Crops
By Saleem Shaikh, Alert Net
Dhulikhel, For farmer Sarswati Bhetwal, investing in crop insurance paid off in the very first year, enabling her to survive a severe frost in January that ruined her potato crop just a fortnight before harvest. “Had my crop not been insured, I would have suffered financial losses, plunging into a possible debt trap and unable to prepare for the next crop,” said Bhetwal, a 47-year-old farmer in the scenic mountain village of Lamdihe, near Dhulikhel town, some 30 km (18.6 miles) southeast of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. Agricultural producers, including farmers and ranchers, generally buy crop insurance to protect themselves against yield drops caused by weather and climate hazards, such as hail, drought or floods, and loss of revenue due to falls in agricultural commodity prices.
The Himalayan Times 1 April 2013
There seems to be no escaping the shortages of petroleum products in this country for one reason or the other. Frequently, long queues of vehicles at the petrol pumps are common. The scarcity of fuel is attributed by the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to the rise in the price of fuel in the international market. It was only recently that NOC paid Rs. two billion it owed its Indian supplier. What the NOC needs urgently is its restructuring. Despite this realization, it is indeed disheartening to note that no government has been successful in making this loss-making corporation efficient by doing away with the rampant corruption in this corporation. The need of the hour is to make the NOC vibrant and transparent. But this does not seem to be a priority of the government. The tax payers’ money is being misused and as a result the common man suffers.
Discovery May Allow Scientists to Make Fuel from Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere
Science Daily, 26 March 2013
Excess carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere created by the widespread burning of fossil fuels is the major driving force of global climate change, and researchers the world over are looking for new ways to generate power that leaves a smaller carbon footprint.Now, researchers at the University of Georgia have found a way to transform the carbon dioxide trapped in the atmosphere into useful industrial products. Their discovery may soon lead to the creation of biofuels made directly from the carbon dioxide in the air that is responsible for trapping the sun's rays and raising global temperatures.
Chinese scientist says South Asia behind receding glaciers
CleanBiz Asia, 26 March 2013
About 90 percent of glaciers in the world’s “Third Pole” are shrinking, accelerated by black carbon being transferred from South Asia to the Tibetan Plateau, a prominent Chinese scientist claims. Recent research has also given scientists a new understanding of pollution on the Tibetan Plateau, Yao said, claiming that most of the pollutants were coming from South Asia rather than China as previously thought. "There were two prevailing views in the past. One was that there was no pollution, the other was that the pollution must come from the east, if there was any at all,” Yao said. But the latest investigations now show that black carbon generated from industrial production in South Asia is being taken to the Tibetan Plateau by the Indian monsoon in spring and summer. "The accumulation of black carbon on the plateau will accelerate the shrinking of glaciers, bringing with it persistent organic pollutants that will be deposited in the soil.”
Economist Nicholas Stern Warns of 'Radical' Climate Change, Millions at Risk
AFP, 2 April 2013
The author of an influential 2006 study on climate change warned Tuesday that the world could be headed toward warming even more catastrophic than expected but he voiced hope for political action. Nicholas Stern, the British former chief economist for the World Bank, said that both emissions of greenhouse gas and the effects of climate change were taking place faster than he forecast seven years ago. Without changes to emission trends, the planet has roughly a 50 percent chance that temperatures will soar to five degrees Celsius (nine degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial averages in a century, he said.
Time for the World Bank to Stop Funding Climate Change
By Jake Schmidt, The Huff Post Green, 3 April 2013
World Bank President Dr. Kim has spoken repeatedly about the damages that climate change will inflict on our children and grandchildren and the poorest throughout the world. This is a welcome signal that he understands the consequences of climate change, so now is the time for Dr. Kim to lead the World Bank Group in following those words with its deeds. That is the message that nearly 60 development, environment, faith-based, human rights, and community groups conveyed in a letter to Dr. Kim
Afghanistan Joins Kyoto Protocol
RTCC, 3 April 2013
Afghanistan has taken another step towards implementing its national climate strategy by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. The move makes it the 192nd country or regional economic integration organization to sign up to the treaty, which will come into force for Afghanistan on June 23 this year. Classed as a developing or Non-Annex I country, it will not have to adopt any binding emission targets, but will be required to draw-up plans to develop a low carbon energy and transport system. Joining Kyoto also allows the country to take part in the UN’s international emissions trading programmes; raising the prospect of richer nations investing in renewable energy and similar low carbon schemes in Afghanistan.
No Alternative to Alternative Energy
By Bhrikuti Rai, Nepali Times, 29 April 2013
If all the electricity generated by private solar cells in Nepal’s urban areas is added up, it would total 200MW of electricity: more than Kali Gandaki IIA, Nepal’s biggest hydropower plant. But officials at the main power utility in the country, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), still don’t believe solar power is feasible even when most of its customers have switched to solar because of the shortage of hydro. One NEA executive told a conference last week: “Solar power is just ornamental.” After being badgered, NEA finally agreed last year to test a solar system to feed surplus daytime power into the grid through a system called net metering.
Doubling Down on Our Faustian Bargain
By James Hansen, Pushker Kharecha and Makiko Sato, Huff Post Green, 31 March 2103
Humanity's Faustian climate bargain is well known. Humans have been pumping both greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) and aerosols (fine particles) into the atmosphere for more than a century. The CO2 accumulates steadily, staying in the climate system for millennia, with a continuously increasing warming effect. Aerosols have a cooling effect (by reducing solar heating of the ground) that depends on the rate that we pump aerosols into the air, because they fall out after about five days. Aerosol cooling probably reduced global warming by about half over the past century, but the amount is uncertain because global aerosols and their effect on clouds are not measured accurately.
Economic Imapact Assessmet of CLimate change in Key sectors in Nepal
By Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment
At the request of the Government of Nepal, the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) is funding a study on the ‘Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change in Key Sectors in Nepal’. The focus in on agriculture and water sectors. This project, Economic Impact Assessment of Climate Change in Key Sectors in Nepal, is being undertaken at the request of the Government of Nepal, and is supported by Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN). This project was initiated to address the target as included in the Climate Change Policy 2011: Assessment of losses and benefits from climate change in various geographical areas and development sectors by 2013.
Download the report here...
Inheritance of Loss
By Uthra Radhakrishnan, Down to Earth, April 2013
Economic losses due to extreme weather events reach record high while nations spar over liability. Developed nations tend to accrue large economic losses in the face of a natural disaster as they have more assets and infrastructure. Most developing countries, however, rank far higher in terms of number of disasters that hit each year, number of deaths and percentage of population affected but do not show large financial losses owing to negligible number of insured assets.
By Saroj Dhakal, The Kathmandu Post, 2 April 2013
In governance of the energy sector, initiatives taken by local CSOs can contribute to bridge the gap between consumers and the producers of electricity. For instance, deals made in energy projects in Nepal are often beyond the public purview or poorly related to the public. Thus, CSOs in the context of Nepal can contribute to make such deals more transparent so they benefit consumers and make the process fair and competitive for credible investors. Furthermore, CSOs as stakeholders—from inception to the decommissioning of projects—can help overcome any local concerns that may create problems in any phase of an energy project.
By Hemanta Ojha, The Kathmandu Post, 3 April 2013
Currently, at least 10 policies related to forests are being drafted, including interim policies, forest sector strategies, agricultural development policy, biodiversity policy, national conservation strategy and national REDD strategy. No doubt, effective public policies are necessary to facilitate development. But the concern is that we do not know who is driving these policies and why. As the country has no elected government, they are obviously not driven by the sovereign people or their representatives. All of these are actually ‘projects’ funded by donors.
A Brighter Future
By Christian Friis Bach and Dr. Govind Raj Pokharel, Republica, 4 April 2013
We need to change the story of Nepal as the country with the lowest energy use and the highest potential. We cannot afford to wait any longer. Denmark and Nepal share a vision of sustainable energy for all, and as longtime partners, we have delivered concrete results. In the last twelve years, more than 1 million households have benefitted from our common engagement to accelerate access to renewable energy technologies in rural Nepal. This has helped many women, children and families to better health, it has created green jobs, and it has mobilized billions of rupees of local investment in the renewable energy sector. At the same time, the Alternative Energy Promotion Center has become a driver of change in developing the renewable energy sector in Nepal.