Friday, November 27, 2009

Entire Country At Risk: Bhutan in danger of global warming disaster

The tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan is one of the world's last unspoiled treasures. People live a traditional lifestyle in unbelievably picturesque settings.

Bhutan's breathtaking "Tiger's Nest"

As a report by Anjali Nayaer in the current edition of Nature News explains in detail, Bhutan is a nation on the brink of disaster, it's geographic landscape in the midst of literally earth-shaking transformation:

Glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating faster than in any other part of the world and they could disappear completely by 2035. This puts the mountainous nation of Bhutan at a special risk. In an area smaller than Switzerland, it has 983 glaciers and 2,794 glacial lakes, some of which have burst to produce deadly glacial lake floods.

A almost unbelievable transformation is underway across the planet, and nowhere is it more all-encompassing than in Bhutan, as the article goes on to explain:

The sounds of global warming are deafening at Thorthormi glacier. Every few minutes, a block of ice rips off the glacier and crashes into the lake in a trail of dust and ice. These are some of the tallest mountains in the world and form Bhutan's northern boundary with Tibet.

Some distance downstream - the setting for the new 1200 MW Punatsangchhu-I Hydroelectric Project, scheduled to be built in 66 months by Larsen & Toubro (L&T), India’s leading Engineering, Technology and Construction Company - that's if the whole valley isn't washed out by a massive flood caused by overflowing glacial lakes upstream...


The above photo shows the Canadian Ambassador to Bhutan, Joseph Caron, who yesterday presented Bhutan's Foreign Minister with a letter of credit in the amount of $50,000 for earthquake relief. Sometimes a little cash will go a long way to help people...

Once they're gone, no amount of money will bring back the glaciers in Bhutan.

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