Greenpeace expedition shows dramatic impact of climate change at the Mt. Everest

Press release - 2007-05-30
Greenpeace released images and findings from three expeditions to Mt. Everest and other regions on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, which show a dramatic level of glacier retreat due to global warming. To prevent the worst water shortage crisis, Greenpeace urges the governments of China and other countries to take immediate measures to reduce carbon emissions.

Protect our water source! Stop global warming!

The glaciers on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau are the source of major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow River, Mekong, Ganges and Indus. The latest UN report predicts that if the current trend of glacier retreat continues, 80% of the Himalaya glaciers would be gone in less than 30 years[i]. China already faces severe water crisis due to its population size and toxic pollution.

In the past three years, Greenpeace has undertaken two expeditions to Mt. Everest and one expedition to the source of the Yellow River, also on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Greenpeace campaigner Li Yan explains what the expedition team saw on their latest trip to Mt. Everest: "A big piece of the Rongbuk Glacier, the major glacier on the northern slope of Mt. Everest, has disappeared, compared to a photo taken four decades ago. This is a serious warning. We must act immediately or most of the glaciers will disappear in the next few decades."

"We witnessed the same dramatic glacier retreat in the region of the Yellow River source," Li Yan added. According to the scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who were involved in the Yellow River expedition, 17% of the glaciers in the area were lost in the last 30 years[ii]. The same UN report also warns that glacier retreat will threaten fresh water supply for one-sixth of the world's population if global warming continues at current trend.

Greenpeace is urging governments around the world to take actions to tackle climate change. In April, Greenpeace launched Energy Revolution: A Sustainable China Energy Outlook, which outlines how China can maintain its economic development while stabilizing its carbon emissions by improving energy efficiency and developing renewable energies[iii]. "We need to curb carbon emissions immediately, because the consequences of inactions will be too big and too far-reaching," Li Yan said.

Other contacts:

Zhang Yizi, Media Officer, Greenpeace China, +86-139 1062 5947
Li Yan, Campaigner, Greenpeace China, +86-139 1125 1485


[i] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of the United Nations, April 2007, Working Groupd II Downloadable" target="_blank">here.

[ii] Greenpeace and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2005, Yellow River at Risk. Downloadable" target="_blank">here.

[iii] Greenpeace and European Renewable Energy Council, April 2007, Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable China Energy Outlook. Downloadable" target="_blank">here.