Africa: Melting African Glaciers an Early Casualty of Global Warming, Say Experts

The first global summit devoted to the preservation of glaciers and poles, which took place in Paris this week, has shed light on Africa’s little-known glaciers – which the UN warns will be lost to global warming.

Experts and political leaders meeting at the One Planet – Polar Summit launched an appeal for urgent action to address the collapse of “all frozen surfaces on a planetary scale”.

Among the world’s most vulnerable spots are African glaciers. The continent still has around 30 glaciers in four countries: Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Tanzania.

They are among some 3,000 tropical glaciers distributed along the equator at a height of at least 5,000 meters, where it is very cold.

Protecting the world’s icy regions is crucial for climate regulation and preserving biodiversity, organisers at the Elysée said – adding that accelerating melt would have “absolutely major impacts” such as the submersion of coastal communities and loss of access to drinking water.

At the initiative of @EmmanuelMacron, 🇫🇷 will host from November 8 to 10 the first international summit dedicated to glaciers and poles.Protecting them is crucial for #climate regulation and the preservation of #biodiversity.#OnePlanetPolarSummit @MinColonna @oneplanetsummit pic.twitter.com/SGsJuodVl5— France Diplomacy 🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@francediplo_EN) November 2, 2023

Kilimanjaro threat

“The main reason Kilimanjaro’s glaciers are retreating is because there is so much deforestation around them,” glaciologist Heidi Sevestre told RFI.

“The lack of vegetation dries out the mountain and the glaciers receive less and less precipitation because of this.”

Increased rains instead of snow over glaciers was another factor.