In the ever-growing list of consequences from climate change, we’ve learned this week that freshwater supply for up to a third of the human population could be gone in less than 100 years.
According to a report by the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment, rising temperatures in the Himalayas could eliminate the area’s glaciers by 2100. Those glaciers provide freshwater for China, India and Pakistan. The environmental impact would be not only the extremely diminished water supply, but also flooding and severe population displacement.
Philippus Wester, one of the report’s authors, told the New York Times that the issue is “a climate crisis you have not heard of.” Wester also warns of increased air pollution and extreme weather in the area leading up to 2100.
According to the Times, up to 90 percent of the world’s glacier mass will be eliminated before the end of this century, as the planet’s temperature continues to rise and weather patterns change.
The rising temperatures are credited to man-made causes. As we continue to burn fossil fuels (gas, coal, oil), greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. These gases (carbon dioxide and methane gas) raise the atmospheric temperature. The rising temperatures cause higher ocean levels, longer melting seasons, more extreme weather, flooding, drought and much more.