Saturday, March 15, 2008

UN: Glaciers Melting At Fastest Rate in 5,000 Years

UNEP warned that further ice loss could have dramatic consequences, particularly in India

Unfortunately, I can guarantee only one thing about this UN report: It will get a very tiny amount of coverage compared to Eliot Spitzer's having paid for sex.

Sunday Observer (uk): Glaciers melt 'at fastest rate in past 5,000 years'

The world's glaciers are melting faster than at any time since records began, threatening catastrophe for hundreds of millions of people and their eco-systems.


Experts have been monitoring 30 glaciers around the world for nearly three decades and the most recent figures, for 2006, show the biggest ever 'net loss' of ice. Achim Steiner, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), told The Observer that melting glaciers were now the 'loudest and clearest' warning signal of global warming.

The problem could lead to failing infrastructure, mass migration and even conflict. 'We're talking about something that happens in your and my lifespan. We're not talking about something hypothetical, we're talking about something dramatic in its consequences,' he said

Lester Brown, of the influential US-based Earth Policy Institute, said the problem would have global ramifications, as farmers in China and India struggled to irrigate their crops.

'This is the biggest predictable effect on food security in history as far as I know,' said Brown.

Sunday Observer (uk): Lost glaciers start countdown to climate chaos

[A]s they retreat, glacial lakes will burst, debris and ice will fall in avalanches, rivers will flood and then dry up, and sea levels will rise even further, say the climate experts. Communities will be deprived of essential water, crops will be ruined and power stations which rely on river flows paralysed.

As a result, people will have to change their lifestyles, their farming, even move their homes, says Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). He also fears the problem could exacerbate tensions over inadequate supplies between neighbouring states and countries, possibly spilling over into conflict.

'We're talking about a major transformation, from household livelihood to big industries,' says Steiner. 'While I'm always cautious about "water wars", certainly the potential for water to become a trigger for more tension and, where there's already conflict, to exacerbate conflict is another issue that's not hypothetical.'

The scale of the problem so alarms Lester Brown, a leading environmental thinker, that he fears huge populations dependent on glacier-fed rivers in Asia - 360 million on the Ganges in India and 388 million on the Yangtze in China alone - will not be able to feed themselves, with devastating effect on already rising global food prices.

Independent (uk): Glacier ice loss at record levels


Anonymous said...

We are buried in record low temperatures, ice and snow and what do you socialist, (CNN,,) report? When are you going to report Global abrupt cooling and blame it on President Bush. Obviously you Icarians are alive and well!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm....1st) UN Scientists report record melting with all the potential ramifications...2nd) Much UN debate and many UN conferences to discuss (at posh world locations)....3rd) UN Carbon Footprint Tax enacted on Global Businesses (except those who buy credits)....UN has a great revenue source with this one...waste and pocket linings to follow...

Follow The Money, don't be blinded by too much idealism or fear......

truth said...

Global warming is about more than "warm" temperatures; the central point is that global warming changes the climate and creates more EXTREME weather events. Like a record-setting number of tornadoes in the US this spring. Extremes of heat, extremes of cold, flooding all over the world in places that never flooded regularly before.

Anonymous said...

This also fails to mention that both the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps are actually growing. So much in fact that it is keeping up with the rate of glacial melting. There have been no studies that state that sea level is actually rising. This UN study is pure propaganda. Is the globe warning? Yes, but it does every 1500-2000 years over the last 250,000 years. The evidence is in the Greenland ice cores. Read up and educate yourself.