Two-thirds of the Himalayan and Hindu Kush glaciers could melt by the end of the century if the planet stayed on the same trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions, threatening to destabilize major rivers. Asia, according to a study published Monday.
Stretching 3500 kilometers from Afghanistan to Burma, the Hindu-Kush-Himalayas (HKH) mountainous region is known as the “third pole” by scientists for its huge ice reserves. These feed ten major rivers in Asia, from the Ganges to the Mekong through the Yellow River, along which are structured population basins.
But global warming is threatening the glaciers at altitude in this mountainous mountain that has the highest peaks in the world, such as Everest and K2, according to a large study led by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental organization. established in Kathmandu, Nepal, fruit of five years of work and mobilized more than 350 researchers and experts.
“It’s the climate crisis you have not heard about,” said Philippus Wester, head of the ICIMOD report, quoted in the press release.
Even if the nations of the planet managed to contain the global warming of the globe at + 1.5 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era by 2100, the low target of the Paris agreement on the climate of 2015, the Hindu-Kush-Himalayas would still lose a third of its glaciers. This melting will not be without consequences for the 250 million inhabitants of these mountains and the 1.65 billion others who live in the river basins downstream.
“Global warming is turning mountainous peaks covered by HKH glaciers into eight bare rock countries in less than a century. The consequences for the peoples of the region, already one of the most fragile and risky mountain regions in the world, will range from a worsening of air pollution to an increase in extreme weather events, “he said. keep Mr. Wester.
According to the report, the region will need $ 3.2 billion to $ 4.6 billion a year by 2030 to adapt to climate change, and then $ 5.5 to $ 7.8 billion annually. here in 2050.