Hindu Kush Himalayan region could lose up to 80% of glaciers by 2100: ICIMOD

The glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region disappeared 65 per cent faster since 2010 as compared to the previous decade. Floods and landslides are projected to increase over the coming decades. This is according to the Water, Ice, Society, and Ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalaya report, which was launched yesterday in Thimphu. The report reveals the alarming impacts of climate change on the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. The region provides freshwater to two billion people in Asia including Bhutan.

Bhutan depends on its glaciers for water resources, economy and agriculture. According to the report, Bhutan is already experiencing the effects of global warming, with incidents of glacial lake outburst floods reported in the past. Reduced snow cover, untimely snowfall and increased change in the river flow over time are also indications of climate change.

“The movement of the species that are used to warm areas are now moving up the slope. If you look at the tigers, they are coming into the habitat of snow leopards so where would the snow leopards go? Invasive species like our blue pine are going up and occupying the space or the habitat of other plants, so these are the things we could see for ourselves,” said Pema Gyamtsho (PhD), Director General of ICIMOD.

Moreover, the report predicts a two-fold increase in fire hazard occurrences by the end of this century in Bhutan. Experts say there is a need for policy in the country to adapt to such changes and tackle any threats to biodiversity.

The report also warns that the glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region could lose up to 80 of their current volume by the end of this century. The eight countries in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region are also advised to collaborate to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“At our national level, our institutions need to work together so that we have a coordinated mechanism and at the regional level, our regional member countries, the eight Hindu Kush Himalayan countries Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar need to come together and work together,” added Pema Gyamtsho.

“India, in fact, as you know that we are one of the largest stakeholders in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region and we understand and we are aware of our responsibilities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change through various positive actions. At the same time, we will appeal to the global fraternity to help in this endeavour because this is not only one country’s concern,” said Subash, the CEO of the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority in India.

“Actually Hindu Kush Himalaya is a very fragile and dangerous region. The glaciers are melting. There are untimely rain, flood and drought as well. So in this context, we have to collaborate with the countries concerned like upstream countries like Bhutan and Nepal and even China,” said Dibakar Luitel, programme director of the National Planning Commission, Nepal.

The report urges policymakers to prepare for the cascading impacts of climate change and mobilise finance for losses and damages.

The report is based on the latest scientific evidence, written by 35 researchers and scientists from 12 countries and 23 institutions. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development or ICIMOD published the report.

Singye Dema

Edited by Kipchu

The post Hindu Kush Himalayan region could lose up to 80% of glaciers by 2100: ICIMOD appeared first on BBSCL.

Related Posts