Adaptation after graduation; are we self-supporting?

It has been forty-seven years since the inception of the categorization of countries as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and only five countries have graduated so far. Four countries, Bhutan, Sao Tome and Principe, Kiribati and Solomon Islands are recommended for graduation this year while Nepal’s graduation recommendation is terminated upon its request. According to the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), the subsidiary body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) who recommends a country for graduation, Nepal as well as Timor-Leste was not recommended for graduation this time even if they met the required criteria because of economic and political challenges. These will be reviewed and considered for graduation again in the next triennial review i.e. in 2021 AD if they still meet the criteria. And for Nepal, the criteria are likely to be met again provided the government’s announcements.

Access to climate funds

The LDCs, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the African States are the countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and Nepal is also one of them. That is why these countries are getting special focus on climate change adaptation measures. The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDC Fund) was established in 2001 AD under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is being managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with an aim to help the LDCs to prepare and implement their National Adaptation Program of Actions (NAPA) to climate change. The officials of Nepal working in the area of climate change never forget to mention this LDC fund when talked about the issues regarding climate change. So the graduation proposal should obviously have shocked, at least once, those officials from the then Ministry of Population and Environment (MOPE) and Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MOFSC) (now Ministry of Forests and Environment) as these are the concerned ministries mostly dealing with climate change issues in Nepal. So, when Nepal graduates from the category of the LDC in the next review, i.e. in 2021 AD, will it be able to cope with the climatic changes without access to the LDC fund after that?

Will Nepal be able to fulfil its Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement when the financial supports it is getting now are also cut?

Some months ago, after the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement, chief of the Climate Change Management Division of Nepal and Nepal’s focal person for the UNFCCC (Dr. Ram Prasad Lamsal) was saying that the USA’s withdrawal was not a problem for Nepal. One of his logic behind this was that Nepal would get money from the LDC fund and it was not only the USA that would provide money to this fund. This also shows that government officials were quite relaxed because of the money that Nepal is likely to receive from the LDC fund.

It is not only the LDC fund Nepal will lose access to after the graduation. The Green Climate Fund (GCF), a part of financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, also pays particular attention to the needs of the LDCs, SIDS and the African States. The fifty per cent of the ‘adaptation budget’, which in turn is fifty per cent of the total 100$ billion annual disbursement post 2020 AD, is targeted towards these countries, which Nepal will not receive after graduation from the LDC status.

Are we ready?

Change in climate is an ongoing process and so is adaptation. Only graduating a country from the list of the LDCs does not significantly reduce the vulnerability to climate change unless sufficient mitigation measures are also carried out. The thing now is – will we be able to adapt to the changes in the future climate without access to those funds which are meant for adaptation programs in the LDCs? We should have already been able for that now because Nepal is already liable for graduation but is postponed only upon our special request.

Normally, we will have three years grace period for the LDC graduation to come into effect. So, within coming six to seven years, will we be able to fully adapt to the climatic changes without major help from the adaptation mechanisms that are particularly aimed at countries like Nepal? Because Nepal will not get special attention after that, as it is getting now as a member of the LDCs. We must be able on our own, at least for that time period until another mechanism is formulated to facilitate ‘graduated yet vulnerable to climate change’ countries. And we should start raising this issue in the climate negotiations now if such mechanism is necessary for us.

Also, Nepal states in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) paper to the Paris Agreement that it needs bilateral and multilateral support in eleven priority areas to meet the targets it has mentioned, the first being formulation and implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAP) and implementation of already formulated NAPA. Will it be able to fulfil its NDC when the financial supports it is getting now are also cut?

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Set Emission Limits

Published in The Himalayan Times. This link – https://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/set-emission-limits-mitigation-priority/

The Himalayan Times Article 2017 -12-01

Dec 01, 2017

The 23rd Conference of Parties (CoP23) ended with an agreement, among others, to prepare a ‘rule book’ next year in Poland for the implementation of the Paris Agreement but the Emissions Gap Report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) already revealed, right ahead of the CoP that, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) i.e. the voluntary emission reduction pledges by the parties will only help achieve one third of what is envisioned in the Paris Agreement.

It is seen that most of the countries with a negligible individual share in the global Green House Gas (GHG) emission are facing the greatest threats caused by climate change. The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) lamented the same on the 23rd CoP and pleaded with the top emitters to cut down emissions. Lamenting and pleading are the things they mostly do in such negotiations because they cannot pressurize the top emitters as it is those same top emitters from whom they are getting (also expecting more) technical and financial helps for mitigation and adaptation programs.

Mitigation or Adaptation?

Mitigation of climate change is far better than adaptation. Any life form in this earth except human beings can neither project the degree of change in future climate nor understand humans’ projection and get prepared for this change. Those species which can face the unprecedented change will persist and those which cannot will go extinct. Therefore, adaptation programs work well only for humans if at all. So mitigation should be of higher priority than the adaptation programs. Hence, the emissions should be so reduced so that there will be no further necessity of adaptation programs in the days ahead.

But how to reduce the emissions has become the main issue at the present. When the climate scientists already warned that climate change is a grave threat to human existence itself, isn’t it time to set appropriate Annual Emission Limits for each country ensuring that the temperature rise does not exceed the threatening level? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be given the full authority over it and each country should abide by the guidelines developed by it. The population size of the country might become one of such bases for setting such limits.

Science proves that the climate change is very real and politicians still debate whether it is real or not. What a pity! This is exactly the opposite of what actually it should be. There should be no debate as if one accepts climate change or not because individual acceptance or denial does not stop the process of climate change in any manner.

Will Climate Funds Really Work?

These are so many funds established for the climate change mitigation and adaptation programs. The Adaptation Fund, the LDC Fund, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) are some of them. Let’s take an example of the REDD program which is supposed to receive payments, after 2020 AD based on the results presented, from the GCF. According to the Transparency International’s latest release, 87.5 per cent (56 of the 64 countries) partner countries of the UN-REDD program have a serious corruption problem, i.e. Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score of less than 50 out of 100. (2016 AD) Data is not available for 5 countries. Eighty-three percent of those countries (53 of the 64 countries) have CPI of less than the global average score of 43. So, will the REDD investment actually benefit the ground level, poor communities who are ignorant of this vast technical issue? Optimistically, there are safeguards. The better thing is there are seven of them. But, would the safeguards really work, should the countries be so corrupt? The corruption in these countries is so rampant because the people there are very good at outsmarting the policies. There is no assurance that the safeguards will be wisely adhered to.

Now, if paid for the results based payments, disparity increases within the country (as they are highly corrupt and the fund will mostly go to the hands of influential politicians and top-level bureaucrats) and if not paid for failing to meet the safeguards, the investment for the REDD readiness goes to waste, only increasing the country’s burden on climate budget. Those who will be able to present the convincing results will be paid and the others will be left behind, which increases the disparity between the countries again. But, a lot of scientific research needs to be done before jumping into the conclusions.

Hence, if obligatory Annual Emission Limits are set for each country based on scientific standards, no organism has to suffer from the impacts of climate change. Who suffers more and who suffers less will no more be an issue. It is difficult to understand why humans are creating the problem and making each innocent organism in the earth suffer?

पेरिस सम्झौता, अमेरिकी बहिर्गमन र नेपालको भूमिका

आदित्य आचार्य  र महेश पौडेल

नेचर खबर अनलाइन पत्रिकामा प्रकाशीत यो लिंकमा पनि उपलब्ध छ: http://naturekhabar.com/ne/archives/5119

प्रसंग पेरिस सम्झौताबाट बाहिरिने अमेरिकाको निर्णयबाटै सुरु गराैँ। राष्ट्रपति ट्रम्पले सो निर्णय गर्दैगर्दा लगभग पूरै संसार त्यसको विरोधमा उत्रीयो । अमेरिकाले पेरिस सम्झौतामा सहभागी नै नहुने भन्दै उक्त सहमतिमा हस्ताक्षर नगरेको भए त्यति धेरै हल्लीखल्ली हुने थिएन जति सम्झौताबाट बाहिरिने निर्णय गर्दाखेरि भयो । ट्रम्पले, जलवायु परिवर्तन एउटा अफवाह मात्रै हो भनेर राष्ट्रपति हुनुभन्दा धरै अगाडिदेखि भन्दै आएका हुन् र राष्ट्रपतिको चुनावी सभामै पनि उनले आफू राष्ट्रपति निर्वाचित भएमा पेरिस सम्झौताबाट बाहिरिने कुरा बताएका हुन् । यद्दपी अमेरिकीहरुले उनलाई नै राष्ट्रपतिको रुपमा निर्वाचित गरे । हुन त एउटा मात्र चुनावी एजेन्डालाई हेरेर जित र हारको निर्क्येाल हुन सक्छ सक्दैन, त्यो राजनीतिको छुट्टै पाटो होला, तर यसले संकेत चाहिँ के गर्छ भने जलवायु परिवर्तन अफवाह मात्र हो भन्ने सोचाइ राख्ने अमेरिकीहरुको बहुमत छ । तर पनि जलवायु परिवर्तन साँचो समस्या हो र यसलाई घटाउन हामी प्रतिबद्ध छौँ भन्ने अमेरिकीहरु पनि कम छैनन् । अनि सत्य चाहिँ के हो भने कसैले मान्दैमा वा नमान्दैमा जलवायु परिवर्तनको प्रकृया रोकिने होइन । यो त निरन्तर चलिरहने प्राकृतिक प्रकृया हो । समस्या चाहिँ, तापक्रम वृद्धिको दर सामान्यरुपमा हुुनुपर्ने भन्दा बढि भएको कारण मात्र भएको हो ।

पेरिस सम्झौता
सन् २०१५ को नोभेम्बरमा फ्रान्सको राजधानी पेरिसमा, जलवायु परिवर्तन सम्बन्धि संयुक्त राष्ट्रसंघिय प्रारुप महासन्धि (युएनएफसीसीसी) का १९७ पक्षराष्ट्रहरुको सम्मेलनमा गरिएको सम्झौता नै पेरिस सम्झौता हो जसमा विश्वव्यापी तापक्रम वृद्धिलाई पुर्व औद्योगिरकणको समयको तुलनामा २ डिग्रीभन्दा तल राख्ने र अझ संभव भएसम्म १.५ डिग्रीभन्दा तल राख्न प्रयत्न गर्ने सहमति भएको हो । सम्झौतामा हस्ताक्षर गरेका १९५ राष्ट्रहरुमध्ये हालसम्म १५१ राष्ट्रहरुले सम्झौतालाई अनुमोदन समेत गरिसकेका छन् । दुई राष्ट्रहरु सिरिया र निकारागुवाले भने हस्ताक्षर नै गरेनन् । लामो समयदेखिको द्धन्द्धका कारण सिरिया उपस्थित हुन सकेन भने निकारागुवाले जिम्मेवार राष्ट्रहरुले गर्नुपर्ने हरितगृह ग्याँसको उत्सर्जन कटौती स्वेच्छिक मात्र भएको, बाध्यकारी नभएको भन्दै आफूले हस्ताक्षर नगर्ने बतायो । यद्यपी विकसित मुलुकहरुले, विश्वले अपेक्षा गरेभन्दा धेरै अगाडिनै अनुमोदन गरेपछि, सन् २०२० पछि कार्यान्वयनमा आउने अपेक्षा गरिएको सम्झौता सन् २०१६ को नोभेम्बरदेखि नै लागु भएको हो ।

नेपालको भूमिका
पेरिस सम्झौताको पक्षराष्ट्र भएको नाताले, नेपालले पेश गरेको राष्ट्रिय रुपमा गर्नसक्ने योगदानको प्रतिबद्धता (इन्टेन्डेड नेसनल्ली डिटरमाइन्ड कन्ट्रिब्युसन) पत्रमा उल्लेख भएअनुसार, हरितगृह ग्याँसको विश्वब्यापी उत्सर्जनमध्ये नेपालको योगदान जम्मा ०.०२७ प्रतिशत मात्र छ । यो त एकदम नगन्य मात्रा हो । सबैकुरा यथावत रहने हो भने, अहिले भइरहेको विश्वब्यापी उत्सर्जनको एक प्रतिशत उत्सर्जन गर्न नेपाललाई आउँदो करिब चालिस वर्ष लाग्नेछ । तर जलवायु परिवर्तनबाट सिर्जित जोखिमहरुप्रति भने नेपाल अति संवेलनशील राष्ट्रहरुको सूचीमा पर्दछ । यसरि नेपालले जलवायु परिवर्तनका लागि गर्ने योगदान चाहिँ नगन्य तर त्यसका प्रभाव तथा जोखिमहरु भने उच्च रुपमा व्यहोर्नु परिरहेको अवस्था छ । यस्ता राष्ट्रहरु अरु पनि धेरै छन् । यहि अवस्थाका कारणले नै महासन्धिका पक्षराष्ट्रहरुको मेक्सिकोमा सम्पन्न १६औँ सम्मेलनले हरित जलवायु कोष (ग्रीन क्लाइमेट फण्ड) को स्थापना गरेको हो जसले विकासोन्मुख देशहरुमा जलवायु परिवर्तन सम्बन्धि नीति, कार्यक्रम र परियोजनाहरु सञ्चालन गर्न वित्तिय सहयोग गर्नेछ ।
नेपालले पेश गरेको उक्त प्रतिबद्धता अनुसार जलवायु परिवर्तन न्युनिकरण गर्न नेपालले गर्ने कार्यहरुमा, स्वच्छ उर्जा प्रवर्धन गर्ने योजना अनुरुप आगामी सन् २०२० सम्ममा चार हजार मेगावाट जलविद्युत र सन् २०३० सम्ममा बाह्र हजार मेगावाट जलविद्युत र दुई हजार एक सय मेगावाट सौर्य उर्जा उत्पादन गर्ने लक्ष राखेको छ । त्यसैगरि कूल भूभागको ४० प्रतिशत क्षेत्र वनको रुपमा कायम राख्ने लक्ष्य राखेको छ । यद्यपि पछिल्लो बन श्रोत सर्बेक्षण (२०१०–२०१४) को तथ्यांक अनुसार नेपालको लगभग ४५ प्रतिशत भूभाग वन क्षेत्रले ओगटिसकेको छ । सोही योजनाको दीर्घकालीन सोच अनुरुप सन् २०५० सम्ममा नेपालको ८० प्रतिशत विद्युत नविकरणीय उर्जामार्फत उत्पादन गर्ने र जैविक इन्धनको प्रयोगमा ५० प्रतिशतले कमी ल्याउने लक्ष प्रस्तुत गरिएको छ । वन क्षेत्र रणनीति (सन् २०१६–२०२५) ले पनि नेपालको कार्वन मौज्दातलाई सन् २०२५ सम्ममा, सन् २०१५ को तुलनामा पाँच प्रतिशतले बृद्धि गर्ने लक्ष राखेको छ ।

बर्तमान अवस्था र अबको बाटो
यी सब योजनाअनुुसार काम गरेर नेपालले विश्वब्यापी हरितगृह ग्याँसको उत्सर्जनमा गरिरहेको योगदानलाई आधा घटाएछ भने पनि त्यो ज्यादै नगन्य मात्र हुन आउछ । नेपालले वर्षभरिमा गर्ने उत्सर्जनभन्दा त विकसित कुनै एउटा देशले एक दिनमा गर्ने उत्सर्जन धेरै हुन्छ । तर पनि तिनै विकसित देशहरु कसको धेरै जिम्मेवारी हो र उत्सर्जन न्युनिकरणमा कसले धेरै जिम्मेवारी वहन गर्नुपर्ने हो भनेर एक आपसमा दोषारोपण गर्नमै व्यस्त रहन्छन् । अनि बाध्यकारी सम्झौतामा आफूहरु हस्ताक्षर नगर्ने अनेक जाल रच्छन् । पेरिस सम्झौतामा निकारागुवाले हस्ताक्षर नगरेको पनि, विकसित मुलुकहरुले गर्नुपर्ने उत्सर्जन न्युनिकरण प्रतिबद्धता बाध्यकारी नभएको भनेर नै हो, उसले आफूले चाहेजति उत्सर्जन गर्न पाउनुपर्छ भनेर होइन । हरितगृह ग्याँस उत्सर्जनमा उसको योगदान त नेपालको भन्दा पनि कम छ । खासमा नेपालले समर्थन गर्नुपर्ने त निकारागुवालाई हो । क्योटो अभिसन्धिले पनि तोकिएको समयमा न त अपेक्षित सफलता हाँसिल गर्न सक्यो, उल्टै दोहा संसोधन पछि अभिसन्धि अनुमोदन गरेका केहि राष्ट्रहरु समेत बाहिरिए । अमेरिका बाहिरको बाहिरै रह्यो, तोकिएको सिमाभन्दा बढि उत्सर्जन गर्नेहरु गरेको गर्यै भए, दोहा संशोधन पछि बस्न मन नलाग्नेहरु बाहिरिए, मन लाग्नेहरु सन् २०२० सम्मको लक्ष्य राखेर हिँडिरहेका छन् । यस्तो जसले जे मन लाग्यो त्यही गर्न पाउने सन्धि सम्झौताको के अर्थ र ? पेरिस सम्झौताको हालत पनि क्योटो अभिसन्धिको जस्तै नहोला भनेर विश्वस्त हुन सकिने प्रशस्त आधारहरु देखिँदैनन् । विश्वकै दोश्रो ठूलो प्रदुषक अमेरिका बाहिरिइ सक्यो, पक्षराष्ट्रहरुले गर्ने उत्सर्जन कटौतीको प्रतिबद्धता स्वैच्छिक मात्र हो, बाध्यकारि होइन र उनीहरुले त्यो प्रतिबद्धता पूरा नगरेपनि केहि कारवाहि हुनेछैन । केहि दिनअघि, पेरिस सम्झौताबाट अमेरिकाको बहिर्गमन र नेपालमा त्यसको प्रभाव विषयक एक अन्तर्किया कार्यक्रममा जलवायु परिवर्तन महाशाखा प्रमूख डा. रामप्रसाद लम्सालले भन्नुभयो – “अमेरिकाले सिधै हाम्रो खातामा पैसा हालिदिने होइन, एलडिसि फण्डमा सहयोग गर्ने हो । त्यस्तो सहयोग गर्ने मुलुकहरु अरु पनि छन्, आत्तिनु पर्दैन।”
हामीलाई आउनुपर्ने पैसा आइहाल्छ भन्दैमा सम्झौताबाट जो बाहिरिएपनि हामीलाई केहि फरक पर्दैन भन्नु त्यत्ति बुद्धिमत्तापूर्ण नहोला । अमेरिका सम्झौताभित्र रहँदा तापक्रम वृद्धिलाई २ डिग्री तल राख्न सकिन्थ्यो भने ऊ बाहिरिँदा त्यो केहि मात्रामा बढ्ने पक्का छ । अनि त्यहि कोषको त्यत्तिनै रकमले गरिने अनुकुलनका कार्यक्रमहरुको प्रभाव पनि त घट्छ । अमेरिका बाहिरियो भनेर जलवायु कोषले सन् २०२० पछि वार्षिक रुपमा सहयोग गर्ने १ खर्ब डलरको सिमा त बढाएको छैन । सबै कुरालाई पैसासँग मात्र तुलना गरेर हेर्न भएन । अनुकुलनता भन्दा न्युनिकरण राम्रो उपाय हो । त्यसो त, तिमीहरुलाई चाहिने जति पैसा दिन्छौँ र हामीले चाहेजति हरितगृह ग्याँस उत्सर्जन गर्छौ भन्दै अन्य प्रमूख प्रदुषकहरु पनि बाहिरिने हो भने पृथ्विको भविष्य कता जाला ? हामीले त अहिलेसम्म हामीलाई कति पैसा आउँछ, हाम्रो देशलाई कति फाइदा हुुन्छ भनेर नाफा घाटाको हिसाबकिताब मात्र गरिरहे जस्तो लाग्छ । ती कृयाकलापहरुबाट वातावरणलाई हुने फाइदा वा नोक्सानीहरु चाहिँ के के हुन सक्छन् भनेर पनि सोच्नु पर्ने हो कि ।
“न्युनिकरणका लागि सकेसम्म प्रयास त हामीले पनि गरिरहेका छौँ नि । अनुकुलनका लागि भनेर तिमीहरुले दिने आर्थिक सहयोग हामीलाई चाहिँदैन । यदि जलवायु परिवर्तनप्रति तिमीहरु साँच्चै गम्भीर छौ भने हामीलाई छुट्याएको सहयोग रकम आफैँ खर्च गरेर तिमीहरुले गरिरहेको उत्सर्जनमा उल्लेख्य कटौती गर ता कि हामीले परिवर्तनका असरहरुसँग जुध्न अनुकुलनका कार्यक्रमहरु नै गर्न नपरोस् ।”- भनेर हामीले विकसित मुलुकहरुलाई दवाब दिन सक्ने दिन कहिल्यै आउला ? पेरिस सम्झौतामा निकारागुवा प्रस्तुत भएजस्तैगरि ।?