These Melting Glaciers Will Have Consequences for Nearly a Quarter of Humanity
The Hindu Kush region of the Himalayas has been long overlooked as a climate hot spot. The mountainous expanse from Afghanistan to Myanmar, known as the “Third Pole,” is home to the third largest store of glaciers in the world. And just like at Earth’s official poles, the ice in that area is rapidly thinning.
Even in the best-case scenario that the world is able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming (the level identified in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that would subvert the most devastating impacts of global warming) at least a third of the Hindu Kush’s glaciers will disappear by 2100, according to a new report.
It’s about time this region, which sustains nearly a quarter of humanity with water and food, is given the international spotlight. “What happens here in the mountains matters to 2 billion people directly,” said Philippus Wester, a lead author of the report.
The 638-page report is the first comprehensive study of the region’s climate vulnerabilities. It took hundreds of researchers five years to fill this gap in knowledge. Up until now, major environmental assessments like the IPCC report have lacked detailed information about this critical region, Wester said, and this dearth of information was a “clarion call.”
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