The world’s glaciers are continuing to melt away with the latest official figures showing record losses, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) announced today.
Data from close to 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled.
The findings come from the World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), a centre based at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and that is supported by UNEP.
Why should we care about a bunch of melting glaciers?
“Millions if not billions of people depend directly or indirectly on these natural water storage facilities for drinking water, agriculture, industry and power generation during key parts of the year,” said Mr Steiner [UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director].
“There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine. The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice,” he said…
“The litmus test will come in late 2009 at the climate convention meeting in Copenhagen. Here governments must agree on a decisive new emissions reduction and adaptation-focused regime. Otherwise, and like the glaciers, our room for manoeuvre and the opportunity to act may simply melt away,” he added.