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 user 2007-06-05 at 1:29:00 pm Views: 85
  • #18196

    UN warning over global ice loss
    of millions of livelihoods will be affected by declining snow and ice
    cover as a result of global warming, a UN report has warned.

    The risks facing people included losing access to drinking water, and rising sea levels, the study concluded.

    The findings were published by the UN’s Environment Programme (Unep).
    chief Achim Steiner said the report showed that time was running out
    for political leaders to reach a global agreement on curbing emissions.
    Steiner made his call for action at the launch of the UN Global Outlook
    for Ice and Snow report, which was being held in Tromso, Norway.

    Melting of snow and ice will in itself have severe consequences on nature and society ,Helen Bjoernoey

    Norwegian Environment Minister
    report underlines that the fate of the world’s snowy and icy places in
    a climatically challenged world should be cause for concern in every
    ministry, boardroom and living room across the world,” he said.
    missing link is universal political action. Today’s report should
    empower the public to take their leaders to task [and] should empower
    them to ask how much hotter it has to get before we act.”

    ‘Feedback’ fears
    study warns of a range of threats that could destabilise ecosystems
    around the world, with potentially devastating consequences for
    hundreds of millions of people.Melting glaciers in Asia’s mountains
    could affect an estimated 40% of the world’s population, who rely on
    ice melt for crop irrigation and drinking water.It added that rising
    temperatures were already resulting in the thawing of permafrost in
    places such as Siberia. This was leading to the release into the
    atmosphere of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.The fate of the
    Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, which hold almost all of the
    planet’s freshwater ice, needed to be better understood, the UN
    publication urged.It said that if emissions of greenhouse gases
    continued unabated, the massive ice sheets were likely to become
    unstable as the world continued to warm.Without taking measures to
    mitigate sea level rise, an estimated 145 million people, primarily in
    Asia, would be exposed to the risk of flooding.

    The UN said that the International Polar Year, a 24-month global scientific study of the polar regions,
    would help shed light on how climate change is altering the ice
    dynamics in these regions.The authors also warned that less ice and
    snow cover was leading to more of the Sun’s energy being absorbed by
    the land and the sea, rather than being reflected back into space.They
    said this “positive feedback” could accelerate global warming and
    result in more abrupt shifts in the climate.Norway’s Environment
    Minister, Helen Bjoernoey, said the comprehensive study into the state
    of the world’s snow and ice presented a bleak prognosis.”To me, it is
    particularly alarming to realise climate change can be a reinforcing
    process – global warming results in further global warming,” the
    minister observed.”As documented in the report, melting of snow and ice
    will in itself have severe consequences on nature and society.”