UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres calls on mountain countries to take bold action on climate change mitigation and adaption

Mountains and climate change

Human activities are profoundly affecting the world’s climate, and mountains are a sensitive indicator of that effect.
Because of their altitude, slope and orientation to the sun, mountain ecosystems are easily disrupted by variations in climate. Many scientists believe that the changes occurring in mountain ecosystems may provide an early glimpse of what could come to pass in lowland environments.

As the world heats up, mountain glaciers are melting at unprecedented rates, while rare plants and animals struggle to survive over ever diminishing areas, and mountain peoples, already among the world’s poorest citizens, face even greater hardships.

Changes in the volume of mountain glaciers and in their seasonal melting patterns have an impact on water resources in many parts of the world. Changes in water availability due to climate change are taking place at a time when pressure on water resources for irrigation and food production, industrialization and urbanization is increasing.

Understanding how climate change affects mountains is vital as governments and international organizations develop strategies to reverse current global warming trends, elaborating treaties such as the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  In addition, local community empowerment can be an essential step towards building climate change resilience in mountains.

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