Himalayas’ Glaciers Threatened by Emissions: What You Need to Know Urgently!

Himalayas’ glaciers threatened by emissions

The melting of the Himalayan glaciers, which are often referred to as the Third Pole, is becoming an increasingly urgent issue as a result of global emissions. The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, a comprehensive new report on the region, warns that these glaciers play a critical role as a water source and for food and energy production. The report also warns of more extreme weather due to rising air pollution levels if the melting continues. This article will examine the report’s findings in more detail.

The significance of Himalayan glaciers

The glaciers of the Himalayas are a vital source of water for some 250 million people in the mountains, and 1.65 billion others in the river valleys below. They feed ten of the most important river systems in the world, supply billions of people with food, energy, clean air, and income and drive up to a third of the world’s annual GDP. They are critical for sustaining ecosystems and livelihoods throughout the region.

The effects of rising global temperatures

The impact of emissions on Himalayan glaciers

The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment warns that two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2100 if global emissions are not significantly reduced. Even if the most ambitious Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is achieved, one-third of the glaciers would disappear. Glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region are highly sensitive and, since the 1970s, have thinned and retreated since the 1970s. Satellite data shows that the number of glacial lakes in the region grew to 4,260 in a decade from 3,350 in 1990.

Worsening air pollution levels

The report warns that rising pollution levels caused by melting glaciers could create a feedback loop. As the glaciers melt, they release black carbon and dust deposits, accelerating melting and changing monsoon circulation. This shift is creating a vicious cycle that threatens to significantly exacerbate the situation.

More extreme weather and increase in pollution levels

The consequences of further melting of the glaciers include an intensification of weather patterns, which can result in more frequent and destructive flooding. Lower pre-monsoon river flows will travel to urban water systems and food and energy production, further disrupting people’s livelihoods and lifestyles. Additionally, as the cover of ice and snow continues to shrink, air pollution levels will worsen, making it difficult for those living in the region to breathe.

The global response

International Climate Forum

The UN climate forum held in December of 2018 has been viewed as the most significant international agreement in the fight against climate change since the signing of the Paris accord in 2015. However, voluntary pledges currently in place would see Earth heat up by more than 3 degrees Celsius, a recipe for widespread human misery. The report highlights the urgent need for governments to adopt more stringent measures to tackle climate change.

Costs and funding

The Himalayas’ region will require extensive funding to adapt to climate change. The report states that the region would require up to $4.6bn per year by 2030, rising to as much as $7.8 billion per year by 2050, to address the impact of climate change on the region.

The human cost

The melting of the Himalayan glaciers is an issue that goes much further than the physical consequences. The people living in the region will be directly affected by the economic, social, and environmental repercussions of Himalayan melting. A significant number of communities depend on glaciers for their livelihoods, and their melting will put enormous pressure on people throughout the region.


The consequences of widespread Himalayan melting are no longer a problem for some other generation to solve; instead, we must all work together to address the problem’s immediate, urgent, and long-term consequences. The longer we wait, the greater the costs and the more challenging it will be to prevent disaster. It is therefore time for emissions reduction globally through legal policies, that will prevent the world from reaching a temperature tipping point, further threatening the world’s delicate ecosystems that we rely on so heavily.


1. What is the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment?

The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment is a report published by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Nepal. The report highlights the importance of the Himalayan glaciers as a source of water, food, and energy production for 1.65 billion people globally.

2. What are the consequences of Himalayan melting?

The melting of Himalayan glaciers could have significant consequences for more than one billion people living in a region that encompasses eight countries. The consequences could include worsening air pollution levels, more extreme weather, and disruptions to urban water systems, food, and energy production.

3. Is global action required to address the problem?

Indeed, global action is required to tackle Himalayan melting. The report stresses the urgent need for governments to take more stringent measures to tackle climate change and adapt to an ever-warming world.

4. What is the cost of adapting to climate change in the region?

The region will require up to $4.6bn per year by 2030, rising to as much as $7.8 billion per year by 2050, to adapt to the effects of climate change on the Himalayas and the surrounding area.

5. How will Himalayan melting impact the human cost?

The human cost of Himalayan melting is significant. The people living in the region will be directly affected by the economic, social, and environmental repercussions of melting Himalayan glaciers. Communities depend on glaciers for their livelihoods, and the melting will put pressures on people throughout the region.