No glaciers on Kilimanjaro by 2050

By Paul Homewood



Glaciers across the globe – including the last ones in Africa – will be unavoidably lost by 2050 due to climate change, the UN says in a report.

Glaciers in a third of UN World Heritage sites will melt within three decades, a UNESCO report found.

Mount Kilimanjaro’s last glaciers will vanish as will glaciers in the Alps and Yosemite National Park in the US.

They will melt regardless of the world’s actions to combat climate change, the authors say.

The report, which makes projections based on satellite data, comes as world leaders prepare to meet in Egypt for next week’s COP27 climate change conference.

About 18,600 glaciers have been identified across 50 UN World Heritage sites. They represent almost 10% of the Earth’s glacierised area and include renowned tourist spots and places sacred to local populations.

The retreat and disappearance of glaciers was "among the most dramatic evidence that Earth’s climate is warming", the report said.

"We hope we might be wrong, but this is the hard science," said UNESCO project officer Tales Carvalho Resende, one of the authors. "Glaciers are one of the valuable indicators of climate change, because they’re visible. This is something we can really see happening."

"What is quite unprecedented in the historical record is how quickly this is happening," said Beata Csatho, a glaciologist from the University of Buffalo, who was not involved in the research.

"In the middle of the 1900s, glaciers were quite stable," she said. "Then there is this incredibly fast retreat."

Well, we’ve all heard of previous claims about Kilimanjaro which have not materialised. And just because glaciers are melting does not mean the Earth’s climate is warming.

Suppose you take an ice cube out of the freezer and leave it in the kitchen. If you come back an hour later, half of it has melted. If you come back an hour after that, it has all melted. Does that mean that the temperature in the kitchen has increased in that second hour?

All melting glaciers tell you is that the Earth’s climate is warmer than when they were at their maximum. (This ignores the effect of precipitation changes)

We are all familiar with the massive expansion of glaciers around the world during the Little Ice Age, in Europe, North America, South America and New Zealand.

But I was intrigued by this comment:

“In the middle of the 1900s, glaciers were quite stable. Then there is this incredibly fast retreat." 

Why choose the mid 1900s? Let’s see what HH Lamb wrote in 1982:


Climate, History and The Modern World – HH Lamb

There is a wealth of evidence that many glaciers were retreating faster than now in the late 19th and early 20thC. But as Lamb points out, this retreat largely stopped during the period of global cooling between 1940 and 1980.

It is fraudulent not to mention the role of the Little Ice Age in all of this, nor to mention that glaciers have been retreating for the last couple of hundred years.

But this is UNESCO we are talking about, which rather says it all!


November 3, 2022 at 12:17PM

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