Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The curse of climate change in Pakistan

Adil Zareef in the News (Pakistan): According to UN climate-change experts, the melting of Himalayan glaciers threatens 1.3 billion Asians. Over a billion people in Asia depend on Himalayan glaciers for water, but experts say they are rapidly melting, thereby threatening to bring drought and disease to large swathes of the continent.

The Himalayan glaciers, a 2,400-kilometre range that sweeps through Pakistan, India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, provides headwaters for Asia’s nine largest rivers, are a lifeline for the 1.3 billion people who depend on the rivers’ downstream water resources.

…Experts say the effects of global warming are already being felt in the region. The Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which has conducted research on Himalayan glaciers for 30 years, warns of an “urgent need for more research on the impact of climate change. Most experts accept that temperatures are changing, and this is happening more rapidly at altitudes. Current trends in glacial melt suggest flows in major Asian rivers, including the Ganges, the Indus and the Yellow River, will be substantially reduced in coming decades.

…Reports from upper Swat and Chitral confirm the predictions of UN climate-change experts regarding Himalayan glaciers’ vulnerability to global warming and its cataclysmic consequences, which are already painfully evident today. This does not appear to be simple monsoon rain precipitation resulting in heavy flooding as our meteorologists and government suggest. Matters are certainly more challenging.

….“Pakistan’s troubles pale compared with what it might face 25 years from now. When it comes to stability of the world’s most volatile regions, it is the fate of the Himalayas’ glaciers that should be keeping us awake all night!” according to Foreign Policy Magazine. “Pakistan’s ability to tackle droughts, floods, food shortages, large ecological migrations and disease outbreaks, and still continue as a viable entity, will depend on its preparedness.”

Trango Group (Baltoro-Glacier, Central-Karakoram, Pakistan), shot by Kogo, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version


Anonymous said...

Do your credibility a favor; stop quoting the IPCC. Quoting the IPCC is the kiss of death.

Brian Thomas said...

A great tip from someone who stays anonymous, badmouths a responsible scientific body with zero evidence. We might take you more seriously if you say who you are and explain what you mean.