Nepal joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) in 2022, endorsing meaningful action to reduce the short-lived climate pollutants, methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbons.
Nepal has been successful in reducing its emissions from coal-burning brick kilns by providing access to solutions such as capacity building and innovative technologies. After a devastating earthquake in 2015, the CCAC supported Nepal’s efforts to rebuild damaged kilns using cleaner technology with three main activities:
- Preparing standardised protocols for climate relevant brick kiln measurement, and providing training in emissions measurement.
- Mainstreaming the skilling of workers to operate zigzag kilns.
- Developing a curriculum for fire masters under the National Vocational Institution in Nepal.
The end result was a 40% reduction in particulate matter and a 60% reduction black carbon. This was achieved by building capacity among brick producers and decision makers with regards to technological solutions and best practices, allowing for the adoption of cleaner brick production processes and the uptake of cleaner technologies. Additionally, a manual was written with the purpose of teaching owners who had lost their kilns in the earthquake how to rebuild efficient earthquake resistant brick kilns. This manual was written in collaboration with local brick entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, and architects and is the first of its kind in South Asia. The manual has allowed for Nepal’s transition away from inefficient kilns to be replicated and scaled up to support other countries in the region.
Nepal is a mountainous country in central Asia whose greenhouse gas emissions stem primarily from agriculture, land-use change, energy and waste, representing only 0.09% of global emissions. Yet, Nepal is disproportionately impacted by climate change, as Prime minister Rt. Hon. Sher Bahadur Deuba said at COP26: “With temperatures rising higher than global average, glaciers are receding, snowfall is decreasing and permafrost is melting in the Himalayan region. Extreme climate events are increasing, causing huge loss to economy, ecology, and human lives. Around 80% of Nepal’s population is at risk from natural and climate-induced hazards.” Nepal’s mountain geography makes is particularly susceptible to the impacts of black carbon, which not only worsens air quality but is accelerating glacial melt, affecting the region’s primary water source with potentially sever impacts on food security.
In 2019 Nepal passed the Environmental Protection Act, which consolidates and amends Nepal environmental protection laws to acknowledge the fundamental right of every citizen to live in a clean and healthy environment where they have recourse to compensation for environmental damages. The complementary 2019 National Climate Change Policy, provides policy guidance to government bodies to reduce the impact of climate change and develop a climate resilient society. The policy specifically refers to the use of biodegradable waste for energy production, and source segregation of waste, reflecting the centrality of waste in Nepal’s SLCP mitigation efforts. Alongside waste Nepal has also prioritised smart agriculture, livestock and wastewater management, and black carbon reduction as air pollution is a central concern in Nepal.
Nepal is a signatory to the Global Methane Pledge, which commits the country to the collective goal of reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% from 2020 levels by 2030. Methane reduction in the agriculture sector will be a priority area in Nepal’s engagement with the CCAC, as over 50% of Nepal’s 44.06 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions stem from its agricultural sector.