One-third of glaciers in the Himalayan mountain ranges could be lost by the end of the 21st century as a result of climate change, potentially complicating the lives of the 1.9 billion people living in the region, a report released late Monday warned.
Failing to curb the effects of climate change could result in the loss of the glaciers by 2100, according to the 627-page report from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, a Kathmandu-based research organization.
‘This is the climate crisis you haven't heard of,’ said Philippus Wester, one of the report's authors. ‘Global warming is on track to transform frigid, glacier-covered mountain peaks ... across eight countries to bare rocks in a little less than a century.’ The region stretches 350,000 kilometres from Afghanistan to Myanmar. The range's peaks supply water to some of the world's largest river systems including the Ganges, the Indus, the Mekong and the Irrawaddy.
The melting of glaciers could cause glacial lake flood outbursts, endangering lives in mountain communities and downstream communities, the report said.
Air pollutants from India's densely populated Gangetic plains deposit black carbon and dust on the glaciers, hastening their melting, it added.
Tashi Tenjing Sherpa, a 65-year-old from Khumjung village near Everest, said population growth and climate change have already made mountain people vulnerable.
‘The snow cover in the mountains is decreasing. The extreme weather events will have huge implications on people like us,’ he told dpa.
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