Sacred river endangered by global warming
By Emily Wax
Updated: 1:36 a.m. CT June 17, 2007
In this 3,000-year-old city known as the Jerusalem of India for its intense religious devotion, climate change could throw into turmoil something many devout Hindus thought was immutable: their most intimate religious traditions. The Gangotri glacier, which provides up to 70 percent of the water of the Ganges during the dry summer months, is shrinking at a rate of 40 yards a year, nearly twice as fast as two decades ago, scientists say.
But recent reports by scientists say the Ganges is under an even greater threat from global warming. According to a U.N. climate report, the Himalayan glaciers that are the sources of the Ganges could disappear by 2030 as temperatures rise.
The immediate effect of glacier recession is a short-lived surplus of water. But eventually the supply runs out, and experts predict that the Ganges eventually will become a seasonal river, largely dependent on monsoon rains.
Quoted;"While India is one of the world's top producers of greenhouse gas emissions -- along with the United States, China, Russia and Japan -- it argues that the United States and other developed countries should reduce their own emissions before expecting developing nations to follow suit.
Environmentalists say that kind of thinking is shortsighted and that India desperately needs strong laws in place at a time when the country is growing so quickly."