As per a Hindu Kush Himalaya assessment, Himalayas are set to lose two-thirds of its ice cap by 2100 due to global warming.
Who Did The Assessment?
- The assessment titles Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment was carried out by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal as part of its Hindu Kush Himalaya Monitoring and Assessment Programme (HIMAP).
- The research for the assessment was carried out for five years involving hundreds of researchers, policy experts, organisations, authors, review editors and external reviewers.
Highlights of the Assessment
- By 2100, the Himalayas will lose 2/3rd of the ice it holds.
- Even if the global temperatures are brought down to 1.5° C, the target of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming, Himalayas will lose 1/3rd of is ice cap.
Why Is This Significant?
- The Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region is the water source for 250 million people in the Himalayas and 1.6 billion people in the plains and river valleys.
- 10 of the world’s most important river systems are fed by the Himalayan glaciers. They include the Ganges, Indus, Mekong and Irrawaddy, Yellow, and directly or indirectly supply billions of people with food, energy, clean air, and income.
- The study warned of major impacts on people from this ice melting.
- There will be worsened air pollution; increase in extreme weather; ban water systems might get disturbed due to low pre-monsoon river flows; which also might impact food security, energy production and livelihood of the people.
- The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is intergovernmental research and knowledge sharing centre.
- It has eight regional members who has the Himalayas as a part of them. They are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.
- The organization is headquartered in Kathmandu, Nepal.
- The aim of the organisation is to assist people living in the Himalayas to adapt to the changing climate and to preserve the fragile ecosystems of the Himalayas.
India And The Himalayas
- For India, Himalayas are of crucial importance. It provides life and livelihood for billions and has economic significance.
- The Indian Government has already launched a National Mission on Himalayan Studies.
- The Mission aims to sustain and enhance the natural, cultural, ecological and socio-economic assets and values of the Himalayas.
- Implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the mission envisages solving the problems of the Himalayan region through science-based technological innovations.
We are already witnessing the devastation of climate change on the Himalayas. The unusual rain and snowfall in the region over the years is evidence to this. Add melting ice caps to this scenario and the havoc it might cause is unimaginable.
The government has taken many steps to protect the Himalayas from global warming. But, climate change is not a localized phenomenon to control by one nation. Concerted efforts from all the countries of the world are needed to tackle this great tragedy for humankind. The Paris Climate Agreement is one such effort where global nations united (except a few). Though it is not a perfect agreement to tackle climate change, it is a good one to start.
Push must be given by the governments to innovate and adopt eco-friendly and sustainable products. Also, the behavioural patterns of people must be changed across developed and developing countries for the collective good of humanity.