Melting of Himalayan Glaciers threatens 2 billion peoples’ lives in Central Asia

The Third Pole of the world, Himalayan Glaciers, face an existential threat according to a recent Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment. The new study proposed that at least a third of Himalayan glaciers would melt by year 2100, even if current reductions in global emissions are effectively enforced.

The Paris Climate Agreement of 12 December 2015 established a framework of actions by member-states to diminish global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The framework stipulates best practices taken to contribute to the cooling of the planet’s average temperature by 1.5-2 degrees Celsius. The Hindu Kush Himalaya study contends that even if this objective is met, a third of the Himalayan Glaciers would inescapably melt. These glaciers provide important water reserves for nearly a quarter of a billion people in the Hindu-Kush areas. In overall, Himalayan Glaciers satisfy the water demands of more than two billion people living in riverside areas of Central Asia, including Pakistan, India and Nepal’s valleys. Himalayan Glaciers continuously renew the water reserves of at least five river networks: the Ganges, Indus, Irrawady, Mekong and Yellow Rivers in the region.

The potential impact of Himalayan Glaciers melting is difficult to estimate. Plausible evidence so far reveals that air pollution levels will increase, the natural geology of the region will alter and several flora and fauna species may become extinct. More specifically, scientists are afraid that the volume of melted water will dramatically transform river flows, especially during monsoon periods, transforming former land valleys into aquatic areas. Based on these estimations, population segments might forcibly migrate to more balanced settings and regional conflicts might emerge over control of new aquatic territories.

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