- •UN has warned that glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Ruwenzori will disappear in the next two decades as a result of climate change.
- The agency said that “low-lying communities and entire countries could be erased forever
The UN has raised a red flag over the alarming rates at which glaciers are disappearing.
On Wednesday, UN secretary-general António Guterres reminded the UN 2023 Water Conference that glaciers are critical to all life on Earth.
“Glaciers represent the largest reservoir of fresh water on the planet. Unless we reverse the global warming trend, the consequences will be catastrophic,” he said.
The UN water Conference started on March 22-24 and is taking place in New York.
Kenya’s Water Cabinet Secretary Alice Wahome is leading the delegation from the country.
UN has warned that glaciers on Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Ruwenzori will disappear in the next two decades as a result of climate change.
Guterres said there is a need to mobilise a greater political, private and public will to conserve glaciers in order to reap the benefits they provide.
The UN chief said the world’s water towers represent the largest reservoir of fresh water there is, supporting nutrition, health, economies, and energy production, and supplying snow melt that provides water for one in every four people on the planet.
Guterres said the silent giants are facing a rude awakening.
“Human activity is driving our planet’s temperature to dangerous new heights. Losing these giants would be a giant problem for our world," the UN chief said, calling for more action to sound the alarm.
The UN chief warned that unless the rise in sea level due to global warming is reversed, the consequences will be catastrophic.
Guterres told the conference that the event dedicated to the issue of preserving the world’s glaciers.
New data released by the World Meteorological Organization shows that global average sea levels have already risen faster since 1900, than over any preceding century in the last 3,000 years.
The UN chief said that “low-lying communities and entire countries could be erased forever.
“We would witness mass movements of entire populations - and fierce competition for water and land,” Guterres said, adding that natural disasters would simply accelerate worldwide, including more floods, droughts and deadly landslides.
He said glaciers have exerted an extraordinary influence on humankind’s evolution, carving out the landmasses we all call home and extending over 10 per cent of the Earth’s landmass.
“All countries must act as one to protect people and communities alike.”
Guterres called for more investment in climate-resilient buildings, infrastructure, and water pipelines, as well as conservation policies that safeguard water resources and ecosystems.
The UN boss called for institutional capacities to be strengthened, and the integration of risk reduction measures that will ensure every person in the world is protected by lifesaving early warning systems against hazardous climate or weather events, by 2027 – a UN “Early Warnings for All” initiative already well underway.
“Let’s stop global warming in its tracks. Let’s help all countries build more resilient futures,” he said.
“As we look ahead to the International Year for Glaciers’ Preservation in 2025, let’s act now to mobilise greater political, private and public will, to conserve our glaciers and all they give to us.”
The concerns over the disappearing glaciers come even as new reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s most authoritative climate science agency, show that global temperatures are rising.
The primary findings of the Sixth Assessment Cycle of the report show that human activities have unequivocally caused global warming and that fossil fuel use is overwhelmingly driving global warming.
The report shows that climate change is already wreaking havoc as it has reduced food security and affected water security.
According to the report, climate action is more urgent than previously assessed.
It shows that the existing plans and implementation gaps have seen the world head for a dangerous future.
The report says there are technically viable solutions to reverse the trend.
This is the last time the world will hear from the IPCC for several years as it closes this cycle.