Protecting Water and Food Security

The Glaciers of the Himalayas - Asia's Water Fountain

BC emissions threaten supplies of water and food for up to 4 billion people worldwide

The Himalayan mountain range has the world's largest concentration of glaciers outside of the polar ice caps (33,000 km2).  These glaciers feed virtually all of Asia's major rivers: The Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang Ho rivers all originate in the Himalayas.  The populations of South and East Asian nations thus rely heavily on these glaciers for their water.  This is why some call the Himalayan glaciers the "water fountain of Asia."

Glacial Retreat: A Threat to Security

Glacial retreat is being accelerated by global warming.  Moreover, black carbon (BC) emissions that enter the atmosphere drop back to earth after a few months, and when that BC lands on glaciers, it darkens them, attracting sunlight and further exacerbating melting.

Progressive retreat of the Gangotri Himalayan glacier 1780-2001

Glacial lakes formed by retreat of glaciers in Bhutan

If that were to happen, the water and food security of up to two-thirds of the world's population would be imperiled.