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William urges ‘positive conversation’ on climate change as he visits glacier

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joked about William’s geography skills as they continued their tour of Pakistan.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wear a traditional hat and cloak during a visit to a village in the Chitral Valley in Pakistan (Sam Hussein/AP)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge wear a traditional hat and cloak during a visit to a village in the Chitral Valley in Pakistan (Sam Hussein/AP)

By Emma Bowden, PA, in Chitral, Pakistan

More education, awareness and political action is needed to tackle climate change, the Duke of Cambridge has said as he visited a melting glacier in Pakistan.

The duke and duchess embarked on a trip to a remote location in the Hindu Kush mountain range in the north of the country for the third day of their royal tour.

William and Kate overlooked the northern tip of the Chiatibo Glacier in Broghil National Park, and were shown how it has retreated rapidly in recent years due to global warming.

It was the first time the couple had witnessed a melting glacier.

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Kate and Diana, pictured in 1991, in similar hats during visits to Chitral (Sam Husssein/Martin Keene/PA)

Accompanied by glacier expert Dr Furrukh Bashir, the duke said communities “vulnerable to change” needed “more education, more awareness and political action”.

“The young are starting to get engaged in it,” he said, adding that a “positive conversation” around climate change was required.

His geography background was also mentioned during the visit in the snowy mountain peaks, prompting amusement from the couple.

I’ve been very impressed by William’s geography Kate

The duke said: “Dr Warren my geography teacher would be well impressed that I’m back at a glacier after all these years.”

“I’ve been very impressed by William’s geography,” a smiling Kate said.

William appeared eager to learn more about the glacier, asking Dr Bashir questions about its size and flooding.

The duchess wore a long taupe-coloured skirt and a darker coloured shirt under a leather vest for the visit.

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The Duke of Cambridge dons a traditional hat and cloak (Sam Hussein/AP)

She opted for flat knee-high brown boots suitable for the rocky terrain, and accessorised with gold earrings and a beige pashmina, while William wore a teal shirt and beige chino trousers.

They arrived by helicopter to the remote location in the Chitral district in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Glaciers in the mountain range which joins together in northern Pakistan, the Hindu Kush, Karakoram and the Himalayas, provide water for 1.6 billion people.

There are more than 5,000 reasonable sized glaciers in the area but nearly 70% of them are retreating, according to Dr Bashir, of the Pakistan Meteorological Department.

A glacier, made of highly compressed snow, which turns to ice, needs more snowmelt than snowfall and low temperatures found at a high altitude, he said.

Global warming has seen the Chiatibo Glacier retreat by some 10 metres per annum due to higher temperatures melting the ice.

A quarter of humanity are dependent on these glaciers Dr Furrukh Bashir

The first threat from the glacier melting is flooding to communities down stream, while the second is removing the water supply completely – which provides for 200 million people in Pakistan.

“Scientific communities have agreed global warming is causing glacial retreat,” Dr Bashir said.

“These glaciers are retreating and telling you that climate change is real, global warming is real.

“A quarter of humanity are dependent on these glaciers.”

In a speech on Tuesday evening, the duke urged the UK and Pakistan to “work together” amid an “impending global catastrophe” over climate change.

On the visit of the duke and duchess, who are hoping to highlight climate change issues in the area, Dr Bashir said: “They are highly influential people and they have a permanent position.

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The Duchess of Cambridge wears a traditional hat (Sam Hussein/AP)

“If we convince them that this is happening because of climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases.

“Hopefully they will advocate to reverse global warming and climate change.”

Following the glacier excursion, the couple will remain in the region to meet with communities affected by climate change.

They are expected to watch emergency response drills in a village in Chitral, which saw extensive damage from flooding in 2015.

PA

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