Tshering Tobgay
Ex-Bhutan PM Tshering Tobgay speaking at the TED Summit 2019. Image credit - Twitter

Former Bhutan Prime Minister and environmentalist Tshering Tobgay raised the issue of the Hindu Kush Himalaya glaciers melting at the TED Summit 2019.

The TED Summit 2019, which started on July 21, 2019, concluded on Thursday at the Edinburgh Convention Centre in Scotland’s Edinburgh.

Speaking at the summit, Tobgay had said the Hindu Kush Himalaya region is the world’s third-largest repository of ice, after the North and South Poles.

He also said the Hindu Kush Himalayan glaciers are the pulse of the planet – their rivers alone supply water to 1.6 billion people, and their melting would massively impact the 240 million people across eight countries within their reach.

“Think in extremes — more intense rains, flash floods and landslides along with unimaginable destruction and millions of climate refugees,” said Togbay.

Also read: NE glaciers may vanish by 2100, reveals alarming study

He further said “we’re headed towards unless we act fast”.

And if current melting rates continue, one-third of its (Hindu Kush Himalaya) glaciers could be gone by the end of this century, said Tobgay.

“What will happen if we let them melt away?” questioned Tobgay while sharing the latest development in the “water towers of Asia”.

Also read: Bhutan sounds alarm as its largest glacial lake swells ‘dangerously’

He made an urgent call to create an intergovernmental agency to protect the glaciers – and save the nearly two billion people downstream from catastrophic flooding that would destroy land and livelihoods.

Calling for a new intergovernmental agency – the Third Pole Council, he said: “This council would be tasked with monitoring the glaciers’ health, implementing policies to protect them and, by proxy, the billions of who depend of them.”

Expressing his concern over the development in the glaciers, the former Bhutan PM tweeted: “The Hindu Kush Himalaya glaciers are melting, threatening to destroy the livelihood of almost a quarter of humanity.”

“We must act together, we must ‘think globally, act regionally’ to protect the world’s third largest repository of ice,” Tobgay tweeted further.

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