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Venezuela: First Nation Loses All Glaciers to Climate Change



  May 20, 2024

Venezuela: First Country to Lose All Glaciers to Climate Change


What Happened to Venezuela's Glaciers?

Venezuela has reached a significant and grim milestone in the battle against climate change by losing its last glacier. The Humboldt glacier, also known as La Corona, has diminished to the extent that it no longer meets the criteria for glacier classification.

How Significant Was Venezuela's Glacier Coverage?

In 1910, Venezuela had six glaciers covering 1,000 square kilometers. By 2011, five of these glaciers had vanished, leaving only the Humboldt glacier. As of the latest reports, even this last glacier has shrunk drastically.

Why Is This Important?

The complete melting of Venezuela's glaciers highlights the severe impact of climate change. Glaciers are critical sources of freshwater and play a vital role in local ecosystems. Their disappearance has devastating implications for the environment and communities relying on these water sources.

What Are the Current Statistics?

- Peak Coverage: La Corona once covered 4.5 square kilometers but now extends to less than 0.02 square kilometers.

- Recent Decline: From 1953 to 2019, Venezuela experienced a 98% decline in glacial coverage. The rate of ice loss increased rapidly after 1998, peaking at around 17% per year from 2016 onwards.

What Efforts Were Made to Preserve the Glaciers?

In December, the Venezuelan Government attempted to protect the Humboldt glacier by covering it with a geotextile blanket. However, this effort was unsuccessful and drew criticism from conservationists concerned about potential ecosystem contamination from the degrading fabric.

What Are the Broader Implications?

The loss of Venezuela's glaciers underscores the urgent need for global action against climate change. As temperatures continue to rise, glaciers worldwide face a similar fate, which could lead to severe consequences for ecosystems and human populations dependent on glacier-fed water sources.

What Can Be Done?

Addressing climate change requires coordinated global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, implement sustainable practices, and protect vulnerable ecosystems. The situation in Venezuela serves as a stark reminder of the pressing need for immediate and effective climate action.



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