There was no official leak, but this must have been discussed when Presidents Xi Jinping and Emmanuel Macron met last week in Paris. After all, Macron has been posing as a staunch defender of the environment and the self-attributed MC of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
It’s certainly not being discussed as part of the current election campaigns in India. And, in Washington, the issue does not seem to even register.
The Hindu Kush Himalayan region extends for 3,500km across eight nations. It is the earth’s de facto Third Pole, considering the immense amount of ice it holds. The area is an absolutely critical water source for about 250 million mountain dwellers across Asia, as well as the staggering 1.65 billion people living in the river valleys below.
Now, a detailed report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the result of five years of research by over 350 analysts and policy experts from 22 nations and 185 organizations, has come to a stark conclusion.
Even if the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century is met – and everyone attuned to realpolitik knows that it won’t – that would cause the melting of nothing less than one-third of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.
Considering that the Paris Agreement goal won’t be realistically met, that translates into current emissions leading to no less than five degrees (5C) in warming and the melting of two-thirds of the Hindu Kush Himalayan glaciers by 2100. Imagine that spectacular succession of glacier-covered peaks across the region being mostly reduced to bare rock in less than a century.
The full report is here.
Flooding, flooding everywhere
The hyper-complex Hindu Kush Himalayan system crisscrosses Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Glaciers in this region feed the Ganges, the Indus, the Yellow River, the Mekong and the Irrawaddy – among 10 major river systems. Directly and indirectly, these glaciers supply 1.65 billion people with clean air, food, energy – and jobs.
The path towards environmental disaster is eerily straightforward.