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Global Warming Could Melt the Himalayas by 2030

By kurtrat     Apr 1, 2007 in World
Global warming could melt most Himalayan glaciers and cause severe hunger in Africa by the 2030s, according to the U.N.
This U.N. report is due on Friday, and also states that the poorest nations will likely suffer the most. The U.N. climate panel gives the most authoritative study on global warming since 2001. It also predicts heatwaves in the United States and the damage of Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Achim Steiner, head of the U.N. Environment Programme, said that "We are talking about a potentially catastrophic set of developments. Even a half meter (20 inch) rise in sea levels would have catastrophic effects in Bangladesh and some island states." But I wonder if the richer nations care at all. To people in the U.S., a huge problem country when it comes to global warming, Bangladesh can seem far away. Do Americans have enough empathy to change? The Bush administration has, of course, been disasterous for the environment.
Rising temperatures may contribute to spreading disease. And if the Himalayas, the world's highest mountain range, melts away, hundreds of millions of people will be affected.
Millions of people could go hungry in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia due to damage to farming and water supplies.
The U.N. believes that the report, along with one in February which concluded it was more than 90 percent probable that recent warming had a mostly human cause, will put pressure on governments to do more to stop global warming. This is optimistic, but I hope it's true.
"We've passed the tipping point," said Steiner. But talks on a global treaty to extend the Kyoto Protocol restricting greenhouse gases after 2012 have stalled. The United States, of course, has not signed the Kyoto treaty. The world's top emitters are the United States, China, Russia and India, but only Russia is bound by Kyoto.
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