Dec 232015

The article was published on the Nagarik daily (23 Dec, 2015)

कोपनहेगन सम्मेलनपश्चात धर्मराएको संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघीय वार्ता प्रक्रियामा छ वर्षपश्चात नयाँ आयाम देखापरेको छ । संयुक्त राष्ट्र संघअन्तर्गत भइरहेका छलफलबाट पृथ्वीमा भइरहेको तापक्रम वृद्धि र त्यसका असर समाधान गर्ने उपाय जटिल बन्दै गइरहेको अवस्थामा पेरिस सम्मेलनले सकारात्मक आशा जगाएको छ । यसमा आयोजक राष्ट्र फ्रान्सले अपनाएको पारदर्शी नीति र कूटनीतिक परिपक्वतालाई सराहना गर्नैपर्छ । यसो भनिरहँदा यो सहमति आफँैमा पूर्ण भने छैन । यसमा व्याख्या गरिएका अवधारणा र नियमित गर्नुपर्ने केही प्रावधानको कार्यान्वयनले नै यो सहमतिको प्रभावकारिता या सफलता मापन गर्नेछन् । त्यसैले पेरिस कति सफल रह्यो भन्ने विषय भविष्यमा विश्लेषण गर्दै जानुपर्छ ।

तापक्रम वृद्धिमा नियन्त्रण

औद्योगिकीकरणपश्चात वायुमण्डलमा हरित गृह ग्यासको अधिक उत्सर्जन भएकाले हालसम्म पृथ्वीको औसत तापक्रम लगभग ०.८५ डिग्री सेल्सियसले वृद्धि भइसकेको छ । बढ्दो तापक्रमलाई २ डिग्री सेल्सियसभन्दा कममा सीमित गर्न यसअघि सहमति भएको भए तापनि यस पटक सो सहमतिबाट अघि बढ्दै तापक्रम वृद्धिलाई २ डिग्रीभन्दा निकै कम गरी १.५ डिग्री सेल्सियससम्ममा सीमित गर्न राष्ट्र सहमत भएका छन् । यसका लागि विकसित राष्ट्रहरुको अग्रसरतामा बाँकी सम्पूर्ण राष्ट्रले हरित गृह ग्यास उत्सर्जन कम गर्ने योजना नियमितरूपमा बुझाउँदै जानुपर्नेछ । यसरी बुझाइएको योजनाहरुको प्रभावकारिताका साथै विकासोन्मुख देशहरुले प्राप्त गर्ने सहयोगको अवस्थाबारे प्रत्येक पाँच वर्षमा समीक्षा गरी थप अग्रसरता लिन सूचित गरिने विषय पेरिस सहमतिका प्रावधानमा उल्लेख छ । Continue reading »

Apr 092013

This article was published on The Republica (9 April, 2013) 

A number of western news wires and climate pundits seem to be euphoric over the ‘declaration’ of some of the poorest countries to cut emissions of Green House Gases to tackle runaway climate change. We will soon know whether the group of least developed countries (LDCs) actually made the commitment, and if it is worth such a wide coverage, but let us first examine whether such a move from the LDCs will have any significance.

Scientific evidences suggest that the world is on the path to becoming 4 °C warmer within this century. It has already been verified that warming above 1.5 °C will cause serious threats to the development and even survival of communities in the most underprivileged parts of the world. A recent report by World Bank said, “A world in which warming reaches 4°C above preindustrial levels would be one of unprecedented heat waves, severe drought, and major floods in many regions, with serious impacts on human systems, ecosystems, and associated services.” But developed countries, which are primarily responsible for, and have the ability to avert, this catastrophe, remain nonchalant.

Twenty plus years have passed since negotiations started among the countries under United Nations to find ways to keep the temperatures rise under safe limits so as to stabilize the climate. In recent years, with countries like China, Brazil, South Africa and India catching up with the United States and European countries not only in economic development but also in Green House Gas emission, a debate over who should take the lead in reducing emissions has been started. The negotiating parties are at loggerheads, with developed countries unwilling to take actions without emerging economies agreeing to binding emission cuts, while emerging economies cite the historical responsibility of developed countries. Forced to remain in the sidelines, LDCs and small island developing states (SIDS) urged developing nations to take note of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDR-RC) acknowledged in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The 49 LDCs representing 12 percent of the world’s population are responsible for only four percent of global emissions, but are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Continue reading »

Sep 232012

This article was published on Climate Action Network Int’l Voice Blog 

Bangkok CC Conference (photo: ENB, IISD)

It has been nearly three years since I started following the climate change negotiations. I first attended the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) intersessional meeting in Barcelona organized just before Fifteenth Conference of Parties (COP15), a well-known Copenhagen climate summit. After that, I got selected as a Southern Capacity Building Fellow of CAN International for two years (2010 and 2011). Southern Capacity Building Program is more about strengthening capacity of civil society members from developing countries on climate change negotiation. I attended every COP and intersessions during 2010 and 2011 as a fellow.

After having some experience at the grassroots level and this short engagement in the UNFCCC process, I find it very challenging to link the expectations of communities with the progress of ongoing negotiations. Last week, after attending the Bangkok intersession, I faced a similar situation- having to update the communities within my country about the current state of negotiation. The Bangkok intersession was about exchanging of ideas on key issues to build on Durban decisions and finding ways to bring one of the Ad-hoc working groups to conclusion. This is not easy to convey to the grassroots people, who were waiting for action, not discussion.

Furthermore, the Bangkok session focused on how to raise ambition and strengthen international cooperation while finding ways to frame the Ad-hoc Working Group on Durban Platform (ADP) to deal with what will be implemented by 2020. Similarly, Ad-hoc Working Group-Kyoto Protocol (AWG-KP) and Ad-hoc Working Group – Long Term Action (LCA) were focused on fulfilling specific mandates from COP 17 and to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the successful completion of the group’s work in COP18. In reality, this makes little sense to the communities. Continue reading »

Jul 312012

This article was published on MYREPUBLICA (31 July, 2012)

In a bid to promote clean technology in the country, Nepal has more than 700 electric vehicles (Safa tempos) running in the valley—a commendable effort to reduce its dependency on fossil fuels. Safa tempos are best driven for short distances and at relatively slow speeds, all of which suits the natural topography of Kathmandu valley. These green machines, which are mostly operated by women drivers, hold a lot of potential for the country’s economy and can tap Nepal’s massive hydropower potential to create a regional energy grid that contributes significantly in reducing GHG emission in the region.

The Trolley Bus Service
The interurban line (Trolley Bus Service) that connects Kathmandu to the satellite towns ceased its operation around November 2008. Established in 1975 and managed by the Nepal Trolley Bus Service (NTBS) of Nepal Transportation Corporation (NTC), the system functioned well in its early stages. At that time, this was one of the cheapest and most desirable modes of transport in the valley. With the change in political set up in the country in the 1990s, the management of the trolley bus service encountered hostile government bureaucracy and the organization’s overstaffing resulted in huge losses for NTBS. The revenue collected from fares was not enough to pay even the electricity bills or staff salaries. Currently, its office compound at Baneshwar is occupied by another implausible project, the Melamchi Water Supply. A part of its space is managed as battery charging station for Safa tempos, where they get uninterrupted electric supply even during load shedding.

The advent of Safa Tempo’s in Kathmandu has replaced the notoriously environment unfriendly Vikram tempos that run on diesel. The development and promotion of Safa tempos in Nepal was initially supported through international projects. This later developed into a bigger EV industry with over 700 Safa tempos operating in more than 13 routes in Kathmandu. The journey was not as simple for other electric vehicles. When the first REVA car arrived in February 2001, it was bunged at the customs office for several months due to customs duty and additional special taxes. There are other similar stories for four and two wheeler electric vehicles that faced enormous challenges at all stages of import, registration and deployment to road and users.
Today, there are more than 700 three wheeler, approximately 1500 two wheeler and few four wheeler electric vehicles on our roads.

The prevailing law does not recognize a two wheeler as a Continue reading »

Jun 072012

Even though, I regularly manage my emails, this afternoon unread emails counts 169 on my gmail account. This was the remarkable number that I have heard most of the time on workshops, interviews and discussions, along with abbreviation ILO, that makes ILO169.

I was curious about this issue from long ago, just after the number strike my mind, I google it for further information. To my surprise, the first thing I noticed was, Nepal was only country to ratify ILO169 among eight south Asian countries and second countries among Asia-pacific. But I could not find the name of another country of Asia Pacific, which has ratified the convention before Nepal. [Why it was so important for Nepal?] Even though there are a lot of indigenous people in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Philippines haven’t ratified the Convention yet. The official website says that till date only 22 countries have ratified the convention1. [What about the DEVELOPED countries?]

In terms of using the Convention as a dialogue tool to stabilize the country, Bolivia and Guatemala in Latin America are ahead. The percentage of indigenous people in Bolivia is more than half the population, and it is said that the country has actually seen economic empowerment through ensuring indigenous rights. Guatemala is another Latin American country that has moved ahead2. Whereas, indigenous people accounts for 37.2 percent of total national population of Nepal (NEFIN)

The decrease in signatories can be partially attributed to Convention 169’s inclusion of Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. Many nation-states are apprehensive of such provisions, arguing that Indigenous autonomy undermines their own sovereignty and governance. Most of the nations that have ratified Convention 169 are in Latin America, where enforcement is weak. Three Non-signatories such as Canada and the United States cite the international community’s inability to enforce these international instruments among their reasons for refusing to ratify them3.

Convention 169 recognizes Indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination within a nation-state, while setting standards for national governments regarding Indigenous peoples’ economic, socio-cultural and political rights, including the right to a land base. The convention is law within the nation-states that have ratified it4. The government of Nepal ratified the convention on Continue reading »

Mar 212012

In principle Nepal’s hydropower potential is impressive due to rugged mountain terrain from which snow and rain fed rivers produce significant amount of seasonal water flow. Owing to this natural hydrological processes, Nepal projected an image since 1970s that this country has one of the richest hydropower potential in the world through which the country would be able to alleviate poverty by bringing socio-economic transformation of the Nepali society. This potentiality was compared with the wealth of some oil-rich Gulf countries. After 40 years, the country is still struggling hard to meet the domestic energy demand, and the once popular national slogan that ‘Nepal is rich hydropower potential with 83000 MW’ is no more exist. Completed in late 1980s, Kulekhani hydro electricity plant (KHEP) became a showcase example of hydropower development, which is the first and only reservoir based hydropower plan in the country. A strong cloudburst of July 1993 seriously hit the plant as its penstock pipes were swept away and seriously reduced water holding capacity of the reservoir due to sediment deposit. In the project design document, such risks were ruled out and, the watershed has been identified as one of the safe zone from any extreme climatic events. The event had a huge impact on the other projects under pipeline. Since then 18 years have passed but no new reservoir-based hydropower plants are built. This is a rationale behind selection of KHEP as a study site for this case study.

In the context of growing impacts of climate change on water bodies and hydrologic cycles, study on prospects of reservoir based hydropower in Nepal are highly desirable. Storing water in reservoir is one of the globally recommended options to tackle climate change impacts on Continue reading »

Nov 232010

Published on Climate Action Network Int’l (CANI) Blog on October, 2010

Hon. Gagan Thapa, CA member, Nepali CongressGlobal Climate Change talks and the process of constitution making in Nepal has several similarities. The agreement made in Bali, Indonesia (resulting in the Bali Action Plan) and the provision in the Interim Constitution of Nepal. Both the processes had similar mandates – two years for drafting a new agreement respectively on a fair, ambitious and binding outcome under the UNFCCC / a fair Constitution for the Nepali people. Both were delayed, brushing aside the high expectations and with very little hope for meeting timelines, one more year has been added for both discourses as we found to our dismay at the beginning of this year. Lack of trust among the countries in the Climate Change discussions and among Nepali political parties engaged in the drafting of the Constitution is hampering the negotiations on both ends, and there’s little hope that the negotiations/drafting will be complete within the revised-time frame. In this whole process, we, the Nepali Civil Society, are getting to see both the painful processes very closely.

Climate Change discussions peaked gradually after COP 13 held in Bali, Indonesia. Parties adopted the Bali Road Map as a two-year process to finalize a legally binding agreement in 2009 in Copenhagen. Continue reading »