If we go on with business as usual, spewing the same amount of carbon we do today, two-thirds of the ice in the Himalaya will be gone this century, with catastrophic effects for the up to 1.6 billion people living downstream.
Ice and snow get all the media attention, but weather extremes are already depleting aquifers and as groundwater levels drop, springs are going dry in Nepal’s mid-mountains.
Our governments have a tendency to blame all their past neglect and poor governance on the climate crisis. In fact, climate change is a god-sent excuse for them to do nothing. However as we know, Nepal’s poverty, dependence on rain-fed agriculture and lack of clean drinking water, are structural problems that pre-date climate change. The global climate emergency just makes all our existing development problems more challenging.
What we have to be prepared for is that even the IPCC’s findings presented in Incheon and Katowice last year may be too optimistic, and that warming trends will certainly be much worse.
Climate climax, Editorial
Climate damage, Editorial
We really do not need more evidence that the climate emergency is happening. The question is, what we are going to do about it. Being an inter-governmental body, the IPCC is a vital interface between scientists and politicians. Policymakers now need to turn the knowledge available into specific action for the local context. The old cliché may have to be turned around: act globally, think locally.