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The Imja glacial lake controlled exit channel in the Everest region northeast of Kathmandu. Photo: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images

Climate change is likely to melt at least one-third of the glaciers located in the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, where Mount Everest is located, imperiling the water supply of more than 1 billion people in the area.

Why it matters: The mountainous 2,000-mile region, known to climate scientists as the planet's vast "Third Pole," is a major water source for 10 of the world’s most important river systems, including the Ganges, Indus, Yellow, Mekong and Irrawaddy. The Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment found that even if the world were to meet the Paris climate agreement's most stringent global warming target, one-third of the glaciers in the mountainous region would still melt by the end of the century.

Details: If emissions were to continue virtually unchecked, the report finds that two-thirds of the region's glaciers would disappear by 2100 — as average temperatures in the region spike by 5°C, or 9°F, compared to preindustrial levels.

  • This could be accompanied at first by catastrophic floods, followed by far lower contributions from glaciers to these major river systems.
  • The report was put together by more than 350 researchers and policy scholars from 22 countries and 185 organizations, and it was peer reviewed prior to publication.

What they're saying: "This is the climate crisis you haven’t heard of," said Philippus Wester of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), who spearheaded the report, in a press release.

  • "Global warming is on track to transform the frigid, glacier-covered mountain peaks of the HKH cutting across eight countries to bare rocks in a little less than a century."
  • "It’s not just occupants of the world’s islands that are suffering," Dasho Rinzin Dorji, a board member of ICIMOD from Bhutan, in a press release. "We need to start thinking of mountain regions as climate hotspots worthy of urgent attention, investments and solutions."

Go deeper: Record number of Americans see climate change as a current threat

Go deeper

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23 mins ago - Science

Biden's military space future

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden should anticipate major and minor conflicts in space from even the earliest days of his presidency.

The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.

Bipartisan group of senators unveils $908 billion COVID stimulus proposal

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in the Capitol in 2018. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday proposed a $908 billion coronavirus stimulus package, in one of the few concrete steps toward COVID relief made by Congress in several months.

Why it matters: Recent data shows that the economic recovery is floundering as coronavirus cases surge and hospitals threaten to be overwhelmed heading into what is likely to be a grim winter.