Melting glaciers in Khumbu, Nepal.
Photo: Alex Treadway/ICIMOD

14.02.2019

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Even if the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century is met, global warming is expected to lead to a dramatic melting of glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, affecting the lives of millions of people.

A two-degree temperature rise could melt half of glaciers in Hindu Kush Himalaya region, thus destabilising Asia’s rivers, according to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment published by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in February 2019.

The Hindu Kush Himalaya region is known as the world’s “Third Pole” for its vast store of ice, and home to Mount Everest, K2 and other soaring peaks. The region covers 3,500 kilometres across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. Nestled in its record-breaking peaks, glaciers feed 10 of the world’s most important river systems, including the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Mekong and Irrawaddy, and directly or indirectly supply billions of people with food, energy, clean air and incomes. Additionally, the region contains four of the world’s biodiversity hotspots.

According to the new assessment, even the most ambitious Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century would lead to a 2.1 spike in temperature.

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