Monday, February 26

International Mount Everest Day: Mountain communities urgently decarbonize Everest 2023

An intergovernmental organization protecting the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HRH) warns that global warming is changing Mount Everest seven decades after Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay first climbed it.

According to a news conference by Nepal’s International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), human activity has pushed Earth’s systems near to tipping points that would make living difficult.

Global warming threatens Everest and the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), which spans 3,500 km across eight nations. Mountain communities, climbers, and scientists demanded climate change action from international leaders.

Under the present emissions scenario, two-thirds of the region’s glaciers will disappear in 70 years, ICIMOD added.

ICIMOD predicts that climate change would worsen in HKH area.

ICIMOD urged countries to honor their 2015 Paris Agreement pledges, cut emissions quickly and deeply, cease coal, oil, and gas exploration, and expedite the transition to renewable energy.

ICIMOD, Nepal Mountaineering Association, and the Mountain Partnership (UN voluntary partnership of partners) also called for public support of the #SaveOurSnow campaign.

The campaign declaration includes 1,500 signatures, including former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, Jamling and Norbu Tenzing, Tenzing Norgay’s sons, and Peter and Lily Hillary, Edmund Hillary’s son and granddaughter.

Even if the world limits warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, heatwaves, droughts, maximum one-day rainfall, and extreme wind occurrences would likely become near-permanent in 20 nations.

Research predicts that 2023–2027 will be 1.1–1.8 degrees Celsius higher than the pre-industrial average (1850-1900). These years have a 66% chance of exceeding 1.5°C.

The ICIMOD news brief stated that climate change’s negative effects on the HKH area will worsen.

“The dangerous impacts of global warming are already being felt throughout the Hindu Kush Himalaya in record-breaking heat waves, droughts, natural disasters, unpredictable snowfall and precipitous and largely irreversible glacial melt,” ICIMOD director general Pema Gyamtsho said in the press note.

Gyamtsho emphasized that urgent global action is needed to protect this region’s inhabitants and precious lifeforms.

240 million people live in the HKH, and roughly 25% of the globe depends on its mountain water. Thus, climate change must be addressed globally.

In January 2023, inventor and environmentalist Sonam Wangchuk staged a “climate strike” to urge the Prime Minister to conserve Ladakh. He claimed 25 Himalayan glacier lakes and water bodies have increased water spread area since 2009.

According to Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment and Down To Earth’s research, State of India’s Environment 2022: In Figures, water spread area in India, China, and Nepal has increased by 40%, endangering seven Indian states and Union Territories.

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