‘Stop the madness’: UN chief warns Nepal’s mountains have lost one-third of their ice

‘Stop the madness’: UN chief warns Nepal’s mountains have lost one-third of their ice

Nepal's snow-capped mountains have lost close to one-third of their ice in over 30 years due to global warming, the UN Secretary-General warned today.

António Guterres delivered his message during a visit to the area near Mount Everest, the world's highest peak.

Climate scientists say the Earth's temperature has increased by an average of 0.74 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years, but warming across South Asia's Himalayas has been greater than the global averages.

"I am here today to cry out from the rooftop of the world: stop the madness," the UN chief said via video message, calling for an end to the "fossil fuel age".

Glaciers in Nepal, wedged between two major carbon polluters - India and China, melted 65 per cent faster in the last decade than in the previous one, he said after visiting the Solukhumbu region.

How is climate change impacting the Himalayas?

Guterres warned that melting glaciers would mean swollen lakes and rivers sweeping away entire communities, and seas rising at record rates.

Glaciers in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya could lose up to 75 per cent of their volume by century's end due to global warming, scientists said in a report published in June this year.

That would cause dangerous flooding and water shortages for 240 million people who live in the mountainous region.

Climbers returning from Everest have said the mountain was dryer and greyer now.

"Record temperatures mean record glacier melt. Nepal has lost close to one-third of its ice in just over 30 years," Guterres, who is on a four-day visit to the country, said.

He also urged countries to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert "the worst of climate chaos".

“Glaciers are retreating, we cannot retreat. We must move forward with climate action,” he concluded in a video shared on X.