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Climber Takes Climate Change Message to the Top of the World

Apa Sherpa will carry a WWF banner with the inscription "Stop Climate Change - Let the Himalayas Live!" up to the 8,848 metres high summit.

KATHMANDU, Nepal – A sherpa set off to climb Mount Everest for a record 19th time to take an anti-climate change message to the world’s highest peak.

Apa Sherpa will carry a WWF banner with the inscription "Stop Climate Change - Let the Himalayas Live!" and a metal vase containing 400 Buddhist offerings up to the 8,848 metres high summit.

Nepal is on the front line of climate change and its effects are visible from the tops of the freezing Himalayas in the north, to the hot lowland plains of the south.

Its glaciers, from where many rivers originate, are shrinking due to rising temperatures threatening the lives of millions of people who depend on them for water.

"This is my 19th climb to the top of the world. During the last 18 ascents, I have seen a measurable difference in the climatic conditions there," Apa Sherpa, who hopes to reach the top in mid-May said.

"The disastrous impacts of climate change are visible in the Everest region. It is a warning to the mankind before it reaches a tipping point."

Observations backed by scientific research in Nepal are recording some of the fastest long-term increases in temperatures and rainfall anywhere in the world.

Many of Himalayan lakes, which collect glacier meltwater, are said by the United Nations to be growing so rapidly they could burst their banks within a decade.

The expedition also marks the start of WWF’s Global Awareness Campaign on Climate Change in the Himalayas, which aims to highlight climate change in the Himalayas through a series of events throughout the year.

"The Himalayas are the youngest and most vulnerable mountains to climate change," Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative, WWF Nepal said

"However, the world has not paid attention to the plight of the Himalayas and we want the whole of humanity to know that the Himalayas are bearing the brunt of our wrongdoings."