The world’s “Third Pole” is melting away far faster than Bhutan’s ex-Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay expected. Faster than any of us expected. The water stress could affect 20% of the global population and the rise in sea level threatens low-lying areas, he says.
The ice in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region contains one third of the world’s glacier water, a third of that could melt by the end of the Century in the best case scenario of a 1.5 degree Celsius increase in global average temperatures.
If the current warming trend continues unabated, i.e. it’s business as usual, then 2/3 of these glaciers will go, then 240 million people in the Himalayan region will be directly affected adversely. The melt is hastened by black carbon soot particles that absorb heat and accelerates the melt. The reckless burning of rainforest and peat soil in Borneo and Indonesia has added much high altitude aerosol particulate. More extremes, landslides, floods are expected to result. People downstream of the ten major rivers fed by the mountain glaciers, 1.6 billion people, rely upon these ‘water towers of Asia’.
“Think Globally and Act Regionally “
In the best interests of 1/5th of humanity, Tshering calls for the immediate establishment of a new intergovernmental agency, The Third Pole Council
to protect the third largest repository of ice. Stakeholders should work together to protect glaciers and people who depend on glaciers, Tshering says we must “Think Globally and Act Regionally.” I pray that people will cooperate in time to prevent disaster.
Here’s how we can stop it from disappearing (Tshering Tobgay | TEDSummit 2019)