Articles Posted in the Green News category

Ruwenzori glaciers could be gone in 30 years, says WWF

March 23, 2008
Posted in Green News

Ruwenzori mountains ©WWFAfrica is at risk of losing the glaciers that are a permanent source of water for the Nile, the WWF reports. The glaciers on the Ruwenzori Mountains have shrunk by 50 percent in the past 50 years and 75 percent in the past century, a WWF team has found. This is very bad news for the more than 2-million people who live in the area whose water supply depends on the glaciers.

The glaciers also play a vital role in providing water for the forests of the Virunga National Park – the home of rare mountain gorillas.

The Ruwenzoris straddle Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. They are one of only three mountains in Africa that have permanent snow – the other two are Mounts Kilimanjaro and Kenya.

“The impact of melting of glaciers was felt by the team when it discovered that the route leading from the DRC to Uganda used a glacier that no longer exists, forcing the team to open a new route” says Marc Languy, head of WWF’s Programme in the Great Lakes region.

“However, the impact is more severe on wildlife and the vegetation that can not adapt to the new condition fast enough. While it was comforting to find many signs of leopards, chimpanzees and other wildlife, one wonders how they will survive if changes continue at the present rate”.

The WWF estimates that the glaciers could completely disappear in the next 30 years.

Photograph: Glaciers on the Ruwenzori Mountains in 1952, top, and at the same spot in 2008, below.

UN warns of mountain meltdown

March 17, 2008
Posted in Green News

Mount Cerro Torres, Argentina. Photograph © Peter Zaharov, iStockphoto.com The average rate of melting and thinning in 30 mountain glaciers located in nine mountain ranges around the world doubled between 2004 and 2006, the UN Environment Programme said yesterday.

Switzerland’s World Glacier Monitoring Service has been tracking glaciers for more than a century. Its director, Dr Wilfried Haeberli, said: “The latest figures are part of what appears to be an accelerating trend with no apparent end in sight”.

Achim Steiner, UNEP’s executive director, said: “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. “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.
Photograph: Mount Cerro Torre, Argentina © Peter Zaharov, iStockphoto.com
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Melting glaciers: Everest base camp sinks 40m and Kilimanjaro ‘is not a poster child for global warming’

July 10, 2007
Posted in Green News

Peter Hillary and Jamling Tenzing, the sons of the first men to climb Everest – Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay – have said that the glaciers on the world’s highest mountain are melting to such an extent that the base camp where their fathers began their ascent is now 40m lower than it was in 1953.

Britain’s Independent newspaper reports that, Peter Hillary, who has summited Everest twice, said: “Climate change is happening. This is a fact. Base camp used to sit at 5,320m. This year it was at 5,280m because the ice is melting from the top and side. Base camp is sinking each year. For Sherpas living on Mount Everest this is something they can see every day but they can’t do anything about it on their own.”

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