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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 December 2006, 20:05 GMT
India and China in warming study
Himalayas
Both countries are worried about meltdown in the Himalayas
India and China have agreed to send an expedition to the Himalayas to study the impact that global warming is having on glaciers there.

They fear that melting glaciers could threaten rivers which support the lives of millions of people.

Scientists and mountaineers from the two countries are now planning to head for the source of two rivers.

Last week a report said that Asia's greenhouse gas emissions would treble over the next 25 years.

The Asian Development Bank report provided detailed analysis of the link between transport and climate change in Asia.

Traffic jam in Delhi

Air pollution and congestion would seriously hamper the ability to move people and goods effectively, it warned.

It pointed out that China was already the world's fourth largest economy, and the number of cars and utility vehicles could increase by 15 times more than present levels to more than 190 million vehicles over the next 30 years.

In India, traffic growth is likely to increase by similar levels over the same time period, the report said.

Carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles could rise 3.4 times for China and 5.8 times for India.

Melted ice

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Delhi says that scientists and mountaineers from the two countries are now planning to head for the source of two rivers, the Sutlej and the Brahmaputra.

These flow from the mountains of Tibet, and along with the Ganges and Indus rivers, provide water to millions of people in the plains of north India and its neighbouring countries.

The expedition's organisers are worried that global warming is melting the glaciers that sustain them.

In the short term, this could cause flooding as the rivers swell with melted ice.

But later if the glaciers disappear, the rivers might too, for part of each year.

The Director of the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, which is leading the Indian side of the expedition, HPS Ahluwalia, said that the melting of the ice sheets and the glaciers is "a crisis in the Himalayas".

He said the last attempt to chart the area around Mount Gang Rinpoche, known by Indians as Mount Kailash, was carried out a century ago.

The scientists say their findings will help the management of water resources for the whole region.


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