The impacts of climatic change on the planet are affecting the world's tallest mountain, the Mount Everest. Sherpas are showing fret whether warmer climates will render Mount Everest climbable. The climbers and local people are worried that the rapid changes in the climate can make this tallest mountain be snow-free ascent. AFP quoted ace climer Apa Sherpa as saying, “In 1989 when I first climbed Everest there was a lot of snow and ice but now most of it has just become bare rock. That, as a result, is causing more rockfalls which is a danger to the climbers.” The receding snow from the Everest has several negative consequences for both short and long terms. In short terms: it will need to be remeasured and clearly its height will fall down; it will also make difficulty in climbing the mountains as expert climbers’ claim that when there is no snow the rocks move and fall making the ascent more risky and difficult. In the long terms: it will make life difficult and unsustainable for the local population by altering the social, economic and geographical space; the quick melting of the snow will cause the size of rivers overflow for some time and as the snow will be finished, it will cause droughts resulting serious consequences to the local as well as mountain-water-dependent populaces; as consequence there will be huge number of climate refugees migrating from these regions; and on the top of it the Mount Everest will lose its sublime-aesthetic-beauty—no people will be interested to climb it.
These warnings are so serious that Nepal must act to mitigate the speedy rate of snow-melting, prepare and adapt to upcoming uncertain climatic consequences. However, no in-depth peer-reviewed scientific studies have so far been conducted to acknowledge of changes in the Himalayas. Conducting an in-depth scientific study to provide clear definitive and scientific accounts of the rate of snow-melt is a must necessary and a daunting task for galvanizing the local, national and international responses. The reference of MOE tells us that the temperature rise rate of Nepal is 0.06 per cent. However, it claims that the rate of temperature rise is higher than this at Himalayas. Some other sources cite that Himalaya’s temperature rise rate is 0.012 per cent. A report published in Nature does show some challenging issues that need to be taken care of. Some (I)NGOs in Nepal have also been conducting their own studies to better understand climate change in the Mountains but it is yet not sure how far they have been through. IPCC’s 2007 AR4 reported that ‘glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any part of the world and could get away by 2035’ but it was criticized on the ground that this report was not peer-reviewed. Yet, all the critics including geologist Vijay Kumar Raina of India who presented a paper against the claim of IPCC, admitted that some glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating.
However, the story does not go this simple. The climate science works on evidence of the past and scenario projections for the future. They are like scenario predictions—based on data but well-informed estimates. The reports of any scientific bodies mostly use words: likely, more likely and estimates, for interpreting the data. But the language of IPCC is becoming stronger that the world is heating up and it is 90 per cent sure that the causes of warming is human activities. We are more likely to be confused by on-going conflicts of interests on climate change debate but it is time for us to discredit petty arguments and start thinking critically and trusting on what we have seen instead of just waiting the disasters to occur as evident. We cannot wait for our material gains leaving the looming environmental problems on our mountains and ubiquitous. The stories told by the local custodians and climbers are more trustworthy to know that the snow is retreating on the Mount Everest instead of discrediting the knowledge of locals who have historical attachment with these mountains. Thus we must develop actual policy responses to reduce the negative consequences of ice-melting and global warming.
We know the fact that creating environmental problems are easier than combating the problems created. Yet we can try to make differences by taking small steps. The ice of the mountains melts primarily by two reasons: global warming or sun-heat. We cannot stop sun-heat by using an umbrella or we cannot stop global warming by spilling water all over the earth. We are the tiny greenhouse gases emissions country in the world and we are responsible for 0.025 per cent of the total world emissions. But if we want to solve these problems, we have to answer to these threats by taking small steps but big asks: we can stop polluting air and this will slow down or stop making holes in the ozone and help fighting glacier’s melting. Clearly, these are big asks because we have to think many times before we do our daily chores: ride a bike or car for no reasons or for the distance we can cover by short walk; let our computers and laptops on unattended; let our taps open when unrequired; curtail our unnecessary travels and means of transportations that produced unprecedented amount of smoke pollution; curtail our materialistic choice of deforestation and never-ending passions of building houses in each cities to show others how rich we are; encourage people to have few children; ask rich to reduce consumption and share with poor; consume local food more than foreign; learn to manage our garbage as responsible citizens; constant seeks for climate friendly technologies; work towards eco-friendly electricity system instead of diesel plants; take many climate friendly actions in local civil society levels instead of waiting bureaucratic time consuming responses from governments; and above all let us create awareness by disseminating the knowledge of climate change among our people across the country.
Yet, we do not have to halt current mode of fuel consumption suddenly but gradual alternative price-competitive sources of energies should consistently be sought for low pollution and higher independence from petroleum fuels. Of course the big asks noted above might decline our standards of livings in short term but the benefits outsmart the loss by transforming dirty modes of consumptions to eco-friendly lives. At national level, if the government without getting corrupted works with international framework mechanisms and determines to advantage the stakeholders, we as Least Developing Countries (LDC) can benefit from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and such other mechanisms under Kyoto Protocol and funds to support climate incentive projects and technology transfer through the Copenhagen Accord, an accord that has not been adopted consensually yet developed countries have already pledged funds and agreements thereafter to flow funds for mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer to most vulnerable and LDC countries. Full-fledge operation of National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPA) can play at least one of critical roles in combating climate change through adaptation. Public, civil society, (I)NGOs and government organizations must focus on making National Action Plan on Climate Change and policies in order to translate climate change risks into opportunities by building capacity, piloting community based measures, collecting, managing and disseminating climate change knowledge and utilizing available cutting-edge climate-friendly technologies.