Study warns of loss of two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers by 2100

Huge New Report Details The “Climate Crisis You Haven't Heard Of”

According to the report, the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, two-thirds of the glaciers in the region will melt by the year 2100 if the temperature continues to increase at the current pace.

The problem of melting of the glaciers concern not only those communities living in the mountains, but also the 1.65 billion people living downstream too.

Speaking to RFI, he explains that "what we're seeing around the world in mountains is that it gets hotter faster than the global average".

The report says even if global warming is kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius, one-third of the glaciers would still go, posing a tremendous threat to the almost 250 million people who live in the mountains and rely on the water and the 1.65 billion others who live in the river valleys below. "Eastern Himalayas are much more susceptible", said Krishna AchutaRao, climate scientist at Centre for Atmospheric Sciences at IIT Delhi.

The HKH region covers 3,500 kilometres across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.

The 2015 Paris Agreement was a landmark moment in worldwide diplomacy, bringing together governments with vastly different views to tackle global warming. And while temperatures rising a few more degrees may not sound dramatic, the report notes the potential devastation it could cause the vulnerable communities in the surrounding area, many of whom live on or below the global poverty threshold of $1.90 a day.

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The landmark report's detailed findings, a product of five years' worth of research and collaboration between 350 researchers and policy experts, highlight the necessity for the government to approach climate change through a multi-sectoral, multi-national and cross-scalar lens.

While the government has made several appeals to the global community for monetary support for its mitigation efforts, little has been done to develop regional policies and mechanisms for environmental governance to specifically address climate change in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region.

Even in case if the temperature rises to 1.5C till the end of this century, at least one third of the glaciers would turn to bare rocks.

"This is the climate crisis you haven't heard of".

The study noted, "The warming rate over the last 50 years in the HKH has been 0.2 ̊C per decade". Prior to this report, the consequences of climate change on the region were unclear.

Further, the report warns that extremes in precipitation are increasing in the HKH region. "If these trends persist the frequency and magnitude of water-induced hazards in the region will increase in the future", it states.

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