The agriculture, as well as water and food

The Himalayan region is one of the most sensitive areas on
the globe in regards to climate change. The impacts of climate change are
manifesting at an alarming rate, worrying many climate scientists. The
conditions are only predicted to intensify over the next few years, which in
turn will have significant impact on the region as a whole. Disruptions to the
Himalayas could affect agriculture, as well as water and food security for many
South Asian countries, including the two of the most populous countries in the
world: India and China. Temperatures in the central Himalayas have consistently
been increasing. According to Kumar Garg, author of Influence of Topography on Glacier Changes in the Central Himalaya,
India , “about 0.6 degrees Celsius per decade since 1977.” Essentially, climate
change in the Himalayas and the South Asian region presents a serious danger to
biodiversity, food, water, energy, agriculture, and much more.

            Perhaps the
biggest factor in terms of climate change in the region is the impact of the
Himalayan glaciers. The glaciers feed many important rivers, such as the
Yangtze, the Ganges, the Indus, and the Mekong. Over a billion people directly
depend on these glaciers for their livelihood. 
The melting of the glaciers will have severe long-term effects on the
abundance of people who live along these rivers. Vulnerable nations in the
region, such as Nepal, must quickly adapt or suffer even more possible
insufferable consequences. Kumar Garg states that in Nepal, “glacial melt will
affect freshwater flows with dramatic adverse effects on biodiversity, and
people and livelihoods, with a possible long-term implication on regional food
security.” Focusing on Nepal individually, the implications on climate change
are evident. Firstly, it is important to take into consideration Nepal is
located between India and China who are among two of the biggest contributors
to greenhouse gas emission on the planet. An impactful quote from Dr. Govind
Raj Pokharel, Vice Chairman of the Nepali planning commission, demonstrates the
tense situation in Nepal states, “We have not swallowed poison, yet we are
being poisoned. We haven’t done anything against nature, but we are majorly
affected by those who have.” This quote speaks volumes to the many people in
Nepal that are currently facing tremendous difficulties. Particularly, farmers in
the area say the monsoon rains have become increasingly inconsistent in
appearance but more powerful, leading to damaging floods. This is specifically
important to Nepal as more than 70 percent of Nepali’s work in agriculture.

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However, this is not only and issue for Nepal. Extreme flooding and landslides
have impacted Pakistan specifically as well, which scientist have credited to
climate change.

            Further
emphasizing the severity of monsoon rains in the region, helps create a greater
understanding of the influence of climate change. In 2016 an exceptionally
strong monsoon season has been deadly to South Asia. Heavy rains have led to
extraordinary landslides and floods leaving countless communities at a loss as
they face food and drinking water shortages. There is also the threat of
disease that remains long after the water recedes. While climate change cannot
be blamed for the existence of monsoons, as they have always occurred, evidence
suggests that climate change does in fact have a significant influence on the
severity and power of the storms. According to the article The Indian Monsoon and Climate Change from The Walker Institute,
models propose the powerful summer monsoons in the region will persist and will
increased in rainfall each year.

            It is also
important to think about the social challenges in the region that accompany
climate change. These challenges include international along with domestic
conflict. The region as a whole is becoming increasingly more urbanized and
cities are expanding to absorb the growing populations, which may include
incoming migrants in search of economic opportunities. As living standards and
population’s rise, obviously water use will also increase. Meaning, the more
people there are, the more water will be needed for agricultural use. The
effects of future climate change could worsen water stress. All the while, water
management has already been a major challenge in South Asian and in particular
the Himalayan region. “The efficiency of existing water management
institutions, which focus on natural hazards and disaster reduction, provides
an indicator of how the region will likely cope with changes due to climate
change…and it doesn’t seem promising” (Jabeen).

            In terms of
migration in the region, there has been intensification in migration from
Bangladesh into India recently. Bangladesh has been suffering from rising sea
levels, caused by climate change, which has displaced millions of people. The
influx on migrants has led to “recurrent communal tensions, which could be
exploited by trans-national elements such as ISIS or al Qaeda with the latter
citing widespread violence against Muslim Bengali migrants” (Narang). This is a
prime example of the conflicts that can be, one way or another, associated with
climate change and the severity of such conflicts.