German glaciers shrinking rapidly due to climate change

BERLIN -- Alpine glaciers in Germany are shrinking rapidly as a consequence of rising global temperatures, said a study published by the ministry for transport and digital infrastructure on Monday. 

According to the study conducted by the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, the mass of the five German glaciers along the southern border with Austria had decreased by the fastest rate measured since the 1949/1950 in 2015. The data was originally compiled for the internal consumption of the ministry for transport and digital infrastructure but was shared with the public following a parliamentary inquiry by Tthe Green party (Gruene).

In the case of the "Blaueis" and "Suedlicher Schneeferner" glaciers, the acreage covered by ice more than halved in the past 50 years.

The Bavarian ministry for the environment has warned that four out of the five glaciers could disappear entirely within the next 20 years, leaving the "Hoellentalferner" field on the Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain as the only remaining glacier in the country.

Alpine temperatures have risen above the global average by about 2 percent throughout the past 150 years. The development places the economic survival of popular skiing destinations, such as Garmisch-Partenkirchen, at risk, as a lack of natural snow forces growing numbers of winter tourism operators in lower-lying skiing resorts to shut down.

Commenting on the study findings, the Green party said the "grand coalition", established by the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU), and German Social Democrats (SPD), had chosen to hold a special cabinet meeting on the peak of the Zugspitze on Monday while failing to tackle climate change.

Green party parliamentary faction leader Anton Hofreiter argued that the "depressing retreat of the glaciers" only underscores the "urgent need" for Berlin to take a more effective action on climate change.

According to Hofreiter, it is high time the CDU, CSU, and SPD "assume their responsibility" and start to take the transition to an economy based on renewable energy sources seriously. (Xinhua)