22 July : The statement of retreating Himalayan glaciers within next 40 years due to Climate change has no scientific evidence and these scenarios are painted by the West. Inaugurating a two day workshop on ‘Environmental Threats in Cold Deserts –Challenges and Way Ahead’ here today, Shri Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Environment and Forests (I/C) said we have to get out of the preconceived notion which is based on western media and invest our scientific research and other capacities to study Himalayan atmosphere. He said that the retreat of Himalayan glaciers is a fact today and the rate of retreat of Himalayan glaciers varies from a couple of centimetres every year to a couple of metres. But it is also true that this is a natural process occurred through out history. He also informed there are few glaciers that are advancing as well. Shri Ramesh said that there is no consensus on the number of glaciers .GSI put it at 9500 to 10,000, where as ISRO’s estimate on number of 14000 -15000. The Minister explained this difference is due to the area covered includes neighbouring countries also.Another reason for large number is due to fragmentation of glaciers, he added.
The Environment Minister added that why glaciers are fragmenting is a big scientific issue. The health of Himalayan glaciers is not in good shape because of various reasons like debri, large number of tourists, human intervention and natural factors. Shri Ramesh stress on need to study seasonal snow cover, strengthen research capacity in the areas of modeling the impact of climate change on agriculture, hydrology, cryosphere etc.
The minister informed that the government has automated weather stations largelyin Jammu and Kashmir and this network will be expanded in the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. He appealed scientists to educate people with right information and share their knowledge with all.
The two day workshop will have sessions on drought and desertification ,management of droughts, rapid onset disaster etc.