The Himalayan Times
Kathmandu, November 28
Avalanches and floods pose special risks to densely populated
mountain regions, such as Nepal, where glaciers are retreating at
a rate of several metres every year, states the United Nation's
Human Development Report, released on Tuesday, which is
focused on climate change this year.
"Lakes formed by melting glacier waters are expanding at an
alarming rate. The Tsho Rolpa Lake being a case in point, having
increased more than seven-fold in the past 50 years," the report,
'Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World',
It also stresses that the time and energy being spent for fuel wood
collection is also affecting Nepal's productivity. "In Guatemala and
Nepal, wood expenditure represents 10-15 per cent of total
household expenditure in the poorest quintile. Collection time for
fuel wood has significant opportunity costs, limiting opportunities
for women to engage in income generating activities. More
broadly, inadequate access to modern energy services restricts
productivity and helps keep people poor," the report says.
The report also appreciates the attempts being made in Nepal. "In
Nepal, communities in flood-prone areas are building early warning
systems - such as raised watchtowers - and providing labour and
material to shore up embankments to prevent glacial lakes from
bursting their banks," it says, adding that farmers across the
developing world are responding to emerging climate threats by
drawing on traditional cultivation technology.
If climate change is not properly addressed in South and East Asia,
changes in rainfall, temperatures and the availability of water
would cause great loses in productivity of food staples, thereby
thwarting efforts to cut rural poverty, it states, adding,"Central
Asia, Northern China and the northern part of the South Asia are
particularly vulnerable to retreating glaciers".
The report makes a case for the urgency with which climate
change needs to be addressed. "Time matters for all of us. Today
we are living with what we did yesterday/ tomorrow we will all live
with what we do today. We need to take action now," it says.
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