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"Ganga glacier may melt by end of century"

Tuesday 5 July 2005

LONDON: Scientists carrying out a study have warned that an ancient glacier feeding the Ganga may melt before the end of the 21st century because of climatic changes caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

According to R.K. Pachauri, Director of the New Delhi-based Tata Energy Research Institute (TERI) and Madan Shrestra, Director of Hydrology in Nepal, the effects of the glacial meltdown could stretch to billions of people in one of the most densely populated areas of the planet.

A study for the U.K. Government Department for International Development (DFID) concluded that this figure was probably exaggerated because it is only in the mountains that the rivers are mostly dependent on glacial melt. On the plains, rivers are fed much more by the monsoons.

Dr. Pachauri told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that climate change was predicted to disrupt monsoon rains. Combined with glacial meltdown this will leave people doubly vulnerable, he said. Appealing to developed nations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, Dr. Shrestra said Nepal was already suffering the effects of rapid warming in the mountains, and added that the river flow has increased because glaciers are melting twice as fast than previously thought.

He warned that he had information that some Nepali glaciers had already melted into lakes and that the water was trapped behind walls of debris scoured by the glacier.

Nepal does produce carbon dioxide emissions of its own. But the average Nepali creates five per cent of the carbon dioxide produced by the average American.

Nepali campaigners are keen to get redress from rich nations for the damage already caused, reports the BBC. — ANI

See online : The Hindu

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