Climate Change and Elections in Nepal

Mar 21, 2023
Dipika Khadka

Climate change is a term used for the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth's climate system and its effects. Scientists claim that more than 95% is caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other human-caused emissions.

Climate Change is a global issue as it has different effects like; rising temperatures, sea level increase, altered precipitation, threats to agriculture, extreme weather events, etc. “In the future, even if global warming is kept to 1.5 °C, warming in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region will likely be at least 0.3 °C higher, and in the northwest Himalayas and Karakoram at least 0.7 °C higher.”(Down to earth magazine, By Richard Mahapatra Published: Monday 04 February 2019)


The ‘’Himalayan meltdown: Hindu Kush Himalayan region warming faster than the global average", the report concluded that such “larger warming could trigger a multitude of biophysical and socio-economic impacts, such as biodiversity loss, inch Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH)eased glacial melting, and less predictable water availability—all of which will impact livelihoods and well-being in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH).”Publications like ‘’ The Climate Change Risk Atlas’’ 2010 ranked Nepal as the fourth most vulnerable country in the world after Somalia, Haiti, and Afghanistan.

The Government of Nepal has envisioned climate justice in its Climate change Policy 2011. On top of this Nepal has also submitted the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) on climate change to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Though Climate Change has moved to the center stage of public affairs, there is no effective policy of Climate Change. The contemporary Nepali state has never been adequately strategic in its domestic and foreign policies, programs, and behaviors. The fundamental issue for Nepal is not climate change and any impact made by it, but the development of national capability according to its own national specificity and needs. Election as a political campaign is an organized effort that seeks to influence the decision-making progress within a specific group. In Nepal’s case, the issue of representation in climate policy-making is critical due to the coupling of two key factors: the climate policy debate is framed by the international response to the Himalayan hotspot of climate risk, and contentious politics is ongoing within a society characterized by historically rooted exclusionary institutions.

It is important to address climate change in elections in Nepal's case because it helps to make a political agenda to which government officials, as well as individuals outside the government, will pay serious attention at any given time. Climate change will affect different sectors in Nepal. Just one example, river flows will become highly variable due to climatic change. This will affect water availability in downstream areas, impacting agriculture and domestic water use. Climatic changes are likely to extend both flooding and droughts, which can affect infrastructure, livelihoods, and hydropower. The impact could be extended to many other sectors like health, urban affairs, tourism, etc. Addressing global issues could make a great change in the mindset of people and may provide a baseline for adapting a strategic perspective in climate change. Nepal needs to develop its national capability according to its own national specificities.