UN Secretary-General urges the world to “end the madness” of global warming

UN Secretary-General António Guterres on Monday urged the world to “end the madness” of climate change during a visit to the Himalayan regions to see the phenomenon’s devastating impact on the rapid melting of glaciers.

“The roofs of the world are collapsing,” Guterres said during a trip to the Mount Everest region in Nepal, noting that the country has lost about a third of its ice in just over three decades.

“Glaciers are ice reservoirs: the glaciers in the Himalayas provide fresh water to more than a billion people,” he stressed. “When it goes down, the river flow goes down too.”

António Guterres, who is on a four-day visit to the country, said Nepal’s glaciers have melted 65% faster in the past decade than in the previous decade.

“I am here today to shout from the roof of the world: Stop this madness,” he said from the town of Siangboche, with Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, behind him.

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In the vast mountain ranges of the Himalayas and Hindu Kush, glaciers provide a vital source of water for 240 million people in mountainous regions, as well as 1.65 billion people residing in the river valleys of South and Southeast Asia.

Glaciers feed 10 of the world’s major rivers, such as the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Mekong and Ayrwady, and directly or indirectly provide thousands upon thousands of people with food, energy, clean air and income.

The UN Secretary-General explained that melting glaciers could cause devastating floods “of lakes and rivers, destroying entire communities.”

He added: “The glaciers are receding, but we cannot do that. We must end the age of fossil fuels.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPEC), the world is close to reaching the critical limit, set at a maximum increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, since the beginning of the industrial era.

“We must act now to protect those on the front lines and limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, to avoid the worst of climate chaos,” he said. “The world cannot wait.”

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