The melting of the cryosphere — areas on the planet with frozen water — due to climate change, is a global threat whose impact will not be restricted to mountain and polar countries, according to the newly formed ‘Ambition on Melting Ice on Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources’ group.

The group comprising 18 governments brings special attention to the role of cryosphere loss in global sea-level rise — one of the most visible and immediate impacts of climate change. Elevated sea-levels can erase entire geographies off the world map, endanger marine and coastal ecosystems and cause immense economic losses.

Melting cryosphere and thermal expansion of sea-water due to global warming were always seen as the major contributors to sea-level rise by policymakers.

The declaration of the group trains focus on the role of cryosphere loss in particular in causing this crisis that threatens coastal communities, island nations and low-lying regions with obliteration.

The countries that signed the declaration November 16, 2022 at the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change concluded in Egypt include those in the mountains as well as low-lying areas.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is the best solution to avert this crisis, the signatories noted. But the global temperature is already 1.15°C above pre-industrial (1850-1900) levels.

Urgently and rapidly reducing global carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from every sector is the only way to arrest warming, they noted.

They called for global targets to decrease emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 from 2019 levels, through carbon-neutral investments and economic development.

The founding governments of the group include Chile (co-chair), Iceland (co-chair), Peru, Czech Republic, Nepal, Finland, Senegal, Kyrgyz Republic, Samoa, Georgia, Switzerland, New Zealand, Monaco, Vanuatu, Sweden, Tanzania, Liberia, Norway and Mexico.