UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called on the world to “stop the madness” of climate change as he visited the Everest region in Nepal, where melting glaciers are putting entire communities at risk of extinction. Nepal has lost almost a third of its ice volume in 30 years, with glaciers melting 65 percent faster in the last decade than in the previous one. The disappearance of glaciers altogether looms even larger, as they are icy reservoirs that supply fresh water to well over a billion people.
Glaciers high in the Himalayas feed large river systems, sustain crops, livestock, and local economies, in a region home to over 1.8 billion people. With rising global temperatures, glacial snow ice compressed over centuries is melting faster than ever, not only in the Himalayas but also in crucial areas such as Antarctica and Greenland.
Guterres warned that in the future, major Himalayan rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra could have massively reduced flows and, combined with saltwater, decimate delta regions, resulting in catastrophe for low-lying countries and communities. He emphasized the need to end the age of fossil fuel to protect people on the frontlines of climate change-induced destruction.
Guterres is on an official visit to Nepal at the invitation of the government.