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Global warming affects the livelihoods and way of life of mountain people, and visitors to mountain environments. Glaciers shrinks, impacting communities and climbing routes and trails are altered. We can contribute to public understanding of climate change issues by telling the world of the changes we see in nature.
In 2007, the Nobel Peace Price was awarded to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, together with Al Gore, for raising awareness and increase public understanding of climate change. The Norwegian Nobel Committee said that “Extensive climate changes may alter and threaten the living conditions of much of mankind (…) Such changes will place particularly heavy burdens on the world’s most vulnerable countries. There may be increased danger of violent conflicts and wars, within and between states.” Scientists have concluded that it overwhelmingly probable that humans are responsible for these changes.
In connection with the General Assembly in Banff 2006, the Alpine Club of Canada organised a workshop on “The future of our mountains”. You can read about the impact of global warming on Canadian mountains in this report. At the General Assembly the UIAA also adopted a Resolution on climate change.
Bursting glacial lakes in Nepal
For the people of Nepal, the threats of global warming are not something they fear for the future, but something they face right now. “Glaciers are rivers frozen in time and time is running out for Nepal's glaciers,” says Ang Tshering Sherpa, the president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association and the Union of Asian Alpine Associations. He is trying to turn the world’s attention to his country’s glacial lakes, which are threatening to burst and cause massive destruction, including the trail to Mount Everest. Learn more
Global Outlook for Ice and Snow
Global Outlook for Ice and Snow (2007) is a report from UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme. It describes how the melting of ice and snow is closely linked to global warming; how big the changes have been so far; and the global impact of the changes – now and in the future. The report was prepared for World Environment Day 2007 to provide an up-to-date assessment on the issue.
For people living in mountain regions, ice and snow are part of daily winter life, a resource for recreation and income generation, and an important part of their national and regional identities. For mountaineers melting ice and snow affects activities such as ice climbing, ski mountaineering and expeditions. Go to UNEP for details.
If you want to learn more about what the UN does to spread information about climate change and combat its negative effects, you can check the new web site Gateway to the UN System's Work on Climate Change. Here you can find information about UN conventions, programmes and field projects dealing with climate change.
The Mountain Protection Commission is the UIAA body responsible for global environmental issues. Learn more...
The Future of our mountains
UIAA Resolution on climate change
Eco Everest report