New study reports two-thirds of Himalayan glaciers will melt by the year 2100
At the current rate, two billion people's lives will be endangered.
A new scientific report, put together by 210 authors, with input from more than 350 researchers and policymakers from 22 countries, all compiled over five years, indicates the two-thirds of the Himalayan glaciers will be entirely melted away by the end of the century.
The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment states that even if the most optimistic climate change targets are met, one-third of the glaciers will still melt.
Philippus Wester, a lead author of the report, told The New York Times:
"This is a climate crisis you have not heard of. Impacts on people in the region, already one of the world’s most fragile and hazard-prone mountain regions, will range from worsened air pollution to an increase in extreme weather events."
Often referred to as Earth's "third pole", the Himalayan glaciers are a source of water for almost two billion people on the planet, especially for some of the most populated countries including China and India.
As it stands, the report indicates that even if the governments of the world were limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, it would require cutting emissions to zero by 2050.
This is felt to be extremely optimistic, bordering on almost entirely unattainable, but even if this hypothetical, it will still result in a third of the ice lost.
If the global rise is 2C, half of the glaciers are projected to melt away by 2100.
At the opposite end of the scale, the most pessimistic circumstances will see the Himalayas heat up potentially by 8 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century, which will massively disrupt water and food supplies.
Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey, told The Guardian:
"Take the ice away and those people are exposed to serious water stress and the consequences of that are local, regional and potentially global, in terms of conflict and migration."