Kathmandu: A United States-based academician, Dr Mark Mascal, has called upon the Western nations to aid less affluent countries to reach carbon-neutral goals.
Talking to Nepal Live Today during his recent visit to Nepal, Prof Mascal, who teaches at the University of California Davis, said that it would be in their interests to do so. “I have argued that the US State Department should incentivise, in various ways, all countries where we have diplomatic missions to go green.”
When asked if time had come for people across the world to change their way of living to deal with the impact of climate change, Prof Mascal said that we are already seeing global weather extremes (droughts, floods), and we will likely see inundation of coastal regions, food shortages, and multiple water conflicts in the coming decade or two, at most. “We will all be changing the way we live, for better or worse. I think we’ll have little choice, to be honest.”
When asked why there is a lack of political commitment to address a global challenge like climate change, Prof Mascal said that some countries are very committed. “For example Norway, which plans to be carbon neutral by 2030. Some countries with larger carbon footprints, including the US, are lagging behind, and others, like China and India, have hardly done anything.
Prof Mascal, who also works as a Policy Advisor for the US Department of State, and received the US Environmental Protection Agency Green Chemistry Challenge Award last year, said that Nepal is off to a good start by promoting hydroelectric power and giving tax incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs), but still has a long way to go to reach carbon neutrality. “They could do more with solar energy, which makes up less than 1 percent of Nepal’s power.”
Prof Mascal said that Nepali businessmen and professionals abroad can have an outsized influence on the future course Nepal takes with respect to climate matters. “I hope they will use that influence to step up to this challenge,” he added.