Rising temperatures could melt most Himalayan glaciers by 2100 if global emissions are not reduced, scientists warn in a new study released by the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.
"Global warming is on track to transform the frigid, glacier-covered mountain peaks . . . cutting across eight countries to bare rocks in a little less than a century," Philippus Wester of ICIMOD, who led the report, said in a statement.
"This is the climate crisis you haven't heard of," he added.
The report says even if global warming is kept to 1.5 degrees Celsius, one-third of the glaciers would still go, posing a tremendous threat to the nearly 250 million people who live in the mountains and rely on the water and the 1.65 billion others who live in the river valleys below.
Himalayan peaks are warming between 0.3 to 0.7 degrees Celsius faster than the global average, and glaciers in the Central and Eastern Himalaya are shrinking at 40 centimeters a year, per the report.
"This is not just going to be another book on the shelf," says ICIMOD Director David Molden. "We hope to spark policy dialogue by putting climate action on the political agenda by having the state of the knowledge in one place."