|Introduction||Basics of Climate Change||Dangers of Linear Thinking||Human • Policy • Economy||Outlook||Appendix • Publisher's Corner|
Melting of Glaciers in the Himalayas
The meltwater of the Himalayan glaciers feeds into the river system of Southeast Asia, which supplies around 40 % of the world's population with water. The glaciers retreat as a result of global warming.
During the glacier retreat, settlements in the Himalayas are endangered by glacier lake breakouts and increasing water shortages.
The equalizing function of the glaciers as a reservoir lapses for the river system of Southeast Asia. In the summer, the missing meltwater causes the water level in the rivers to sharply decrease. Immediate consequences include water shortages and crop failure.
In winter, the precipitation (hardly any snow) moves directly into the river system. Devastating floods must be reckoned with.
Increase in Sea Level
An increase in the sea level as a result of climate change would have devastating consequences, which could affect many large cities and agricultural or economic land regions in the coastal areas.
An increase of one meter would flood an expanse of land around two million square kilometers in size. This corresponds to around 20 % of the surface of Europe.
Around 200 million people would lose their means of subsistence. The economic damage would amount to approximately one billion €.
This would result in a rapid worldwide influx of refugees, compared to which the numbers left homeless by hurricane Katrina or the tsunami catastrophe in the Indian Ocean (each around 1.5 million people) would seem to be negligible.
The socioeconomic effects would be unavoidable, such as a collapse of administration (for example New Orleans), revolts, wars and epidemics.
In particular, regions such as the Pacific Islands, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, the Netherlands and also northern Germany would be severely affected.
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