Climate change in Nepal: Impacts and adaptive strategies
Nowhere is the challenge of responding to the varied impacts of climate change more daunting than in the Hindukush-Himalaya region. IPCC's 2007 Fourth Assessment Report designated this region a "white spot" because of the limited number of scientific studies conducted in this region, including Nepal. This paper discusses the physical, climatic and social variability of Nepal. It summarizes climate change scenario results from a recent modeling exercise. While temperature is likely to go up in the region, precipitation will be more erratic in the future implying increasing uncertainty. The paper suggests that increasing uncertainty does not imply no vulnerability and no adaptation. It then goes on to discuss two types of disasters - rapid and slow onset. Floods and landslides are considered rapid onset disasters while drought, forest fires, snow melt and regional sedimentation fall within the latter category. The risks climate change imposes on both types are highlighted while drawing implications for decision making for adaptation. In conclusion, it is suggested that responses to climate change impacts require plural institutions and that approaches must pursue incremental solutions at local, regional and national scales.