Wester adds: “Impacts on people in the region, already one of the world’s most fragile and hazard-prone mountain regions, will range from worsened air pollution to an increase in extreme weather events. But it’s the projected reductions in pre-monsoon river flows and changes in the monsoon that will hit hardest, throwing urban water systems and food and energy production off kilter.”
The glaciers of the HKH have already receded over the past decades as a result of rising global temperatures caused by carbon emissions. Some of these effects are being felt by the region's inhabitants, however worse could be yet to come if the problem remains side-lined by policymakers.
“There are rocky times ahead for the region: between now and 2080, the environmental economic and social conditions laid out in the report could go downhill,” added Eklabya Sharma, deputy director general of ICIMOD. “Because many of the disasters and sudden changes will play out across country borders, conflict among the region’s countries could easily flare up. But the future doesn’t have to be bleak if governments work together to turn the tide against melting glaciers and the myriad impacts they unleash.”