The increased warming of the planet since industrialisation began has caused many different changes to the planet’s characteristics. One visible and alarming change has been the melting of mountain glaciers which was first observed in 1850. Now there is widespread scientific research which shows that mountain glaciers are diminishing all around the world from the Alps and Icelandic glaciers to the Himalayan mountain range.
Specifically concentrating on the Himalayan mountain range, which has been described as the planet’s third pole, the former Prime Minister of Bhutan highlights some interesting points on mountain glaciers and the issues of climate change.
As explained in the video above the melting of mountain glaciers is problematic for a number of different reasons. One of those reasons being sea-level rise and flooding which will create unprecedented amounts of climate refugees and destroy habitats for certain species. Similar to permafrost thawing, the melting of glaciers may also expose lethal diseases and methane gas, which is more harmful than carbon dioxide, causing them to re-enter the atmosphere due to unfrozen earth which both damage human and environmental health.
Not only do these problems have collateral affects but scientists have estimated that at the rates of melting currently being observed, our planet will lose some of its glaciers before the end of the century and heavy glacierised regions will continue to contribute to sea-level rise beyond 2100. The melting of glaciers is already evident as in 2019, Iceland lost their first mountain glacier and people came together with a plaque to acknowledge the problem and spread awareness that climate action must take place if we are to prevent more degradation of our planet’s health. This is worrying as these problems are relatively new to us, meaning that the solutions are also new and not yet obvious.
However, one of the most obvious solutions to melting glaciers would be to prevent global warming and transition toward renewable energy but as I identified in a previous post, global warming itself involves many complex issues. Additionally, to fix such a major issue cannot simply be done by transitioning to renewable energy as the transition itself is a slow and complex problem.
Although, transitioning to renewable energy is a arduous and complex task, with each year seeing more technological advancement there is still some hope. For example, the International Energy Agency documented that the rise and growth for renewable energy increased in 2019 and using scenarios predicted that it will continue to grow considerably from 2020. This demonstrates a clear trend that people are working internationally to help mitigate some of these complex and daunting issues.