Celebrating International Mountain Day
12 January 2021
Raising Climate Change Awareness for greater action in the Hindukush-Himalaya Region
Climate change is having a devastating impact on the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, which spreads across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. Average temperatures have surged by approx. 2.9°C over the last century. According to the HKH Assessment Report by ICIMOD, even if carbon emissions are limited to 1.5C, 36% of glaciers in the region will be gone by 2100 and if temperatures are not limited to 2C above pre-industrial levels, two-thirds of the region’s ice mass will be lost within this century.
In order to raise awareness of climate change and promote the need for greater actions in the Hindukush-Himalaya Region a webinar was organised by Dr Abid Mehmood, Senior Research Fellow at Sustainable Places Research Institute. Coinciding with International Mountain Day, the webinar aimed to engage policy experts, civil society, academia, and media to identify the opportunities and challenges in raising climate change awareness for greater climate action in the region, highlight the consequences of inaction, and discuss the road ahead.
The situation poses serious threats to the mountain communities in Pakistan, which ranks amongst the countries witnessing the fastest glacier melting rate at 2.3% per annum. The rapid melting of glaciers is compounded by pollutants such as black carbon, microplastics, and aerosols, which are affecting the local ecology and environment and bring increasing risks of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) resulting in loss of life and livelihoods. This calls for immediate actions to not only adapt and mitigate climate change but also raising its awareness which holds the key to climate action.
The project is supported by HEFCW-GCRF Impact Acceleration grant at Cardiff University.