A recent report published by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), and reported in The Guardian, found that limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as suggested in the IPCC Special Report 1.5C, will not be enough to limit impacts in the Himalayan regions.
This report suggests that capping warming at 1.5C is likely to result in the loss of an estimated 36% of glaciers in the region by 2100. This is because warming is amplified by elevation, therefore the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region will warm more rapidly compared to the global mean.
Dr Grady Walker, from the Walker Institute, at the University of Reading said: “We welcome this important report from ICIMOD. In the ambitious scenario where global warming has been limited to 1.5C, the report has found that the HKH is projected to face a 2.1C increase in temperature. If we do not even achieve these emission targets and we surpass 1.5C, an estimated two thirds of glaciers in the region will be lost. As the glaciers begin to melt, this will directly affect the livelihoods of 1.65 billion people.
“The HKH region, which covers 3,500km over eight countries, between Afghanistan and Myanmar, is the third largest global store of ice and is often referred to as the ‘third pole’. Accelerated melting, as a result of climate change, will have a catastrophic effect on not only the lives of people in the immediate region but across the rest of the world.
“The Walker Institute is an associate member of the Himalayan University Consortium, part of ICIMOD, contributing to the Disaster Risk Reduction Thematic Working Group. As part of this work, we are addressing the massive challenges posed by sustainable development within this region against a backdrop of global climate change.“