Global News

Mobilizing global sustainable science action is imperative if we are to realize the 2030 Agenda. The International Science Council is currently running a call for inputs to shape a priority action agenda for science. Deadline for participation is 2 October 2020

With just ten years to go to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN’s 2030 Agenda, science funders from around the world have asked the International Science Council (ISC) to convene the insights and ideas of the broader global scientific community on the critical priorities for science that will support and enable societies to accomplish the goals by 2030. The ISC is looking to hear from scientists in all fields and all disciplines, including the natural, social, and human sciences.

As part of the MRI's mission to promote global change mountain research, we are excited to bring visibility to the six projects that form the Belmont Forum’s ‘Mountains as Sentinels of Change’ program by highlighting a different one each month.

This month’s featured project is ClimateWIse. Their blog post ‘Seven Things We Learned by Listening to Those Who Make Water Funds Happen’ offers a glimpse into their activities. Their blog post was originally published in The Nature Conservancy's "Cool Green Science" blogsite, and reproduced here with permission – take a look below!

Despite encouraging progress in several areas, the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. Eight transformative changes are urgently needed to ensure human well-being and save the planet, the UN warns in a major report. 

The report comes as the COVID-19 pandemic challenges people to rethink their relationship with nature, and to consider the profound consequences to their own wellbeing and survival that can result from continued biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystems.

Concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are at record levels, and emissions that saw a temporary decline due to the pandemic are heading towards pre-COVID levels, while global temperatures continue to hit new highs. This is according to a major new report highlighting the increasing and irreversible impacts of climate change, and their significant implications for life on Earth. The report also features key messages on the cryosphere, taken from the IPCC SROCC, to which the MRI community contributed.

Climate change has not stopped for COVID19. Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are at record levels and continue to increase. Emissions are heading in the direction of pre-pandemic levels following a temporary decline caused by the lockdown and economic slowdown. The world is set to see its warmest five years on record – in a trend which is likely to continue - and is not on track to meet agreed targets to keep global temperature increase well below 2 °C or at 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

The Adaptation at Altitude (AaA) programme has created a new online space on climate change adaptation in mountains that actors working on this topic can use to share their findings, learn from others, discuss challenges and shared issues, and announce events. 

This space is hosted on the climate change adaptation knowledge platform, and is free and open for all to use. It ultimately aims to support a community of practice and open space for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers working at all levels to connect with each other and share and discuss insights from their work. 

Distinct psychological mix associated with mountain populations is consistent with the theory that harsh frontiers attracted certain personalities. 

When historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented his famous thesis on the US frontier in 1893, he described the “coarseness and strength combined with acuteness and acquisitiveness” it had forged in the American character. Now, well into the 21st century, researchers led by the University of Cambridge have detected remnants of the pioneer personality in US populations of once inhospitable mountainous territory, particularly in the West.

Ice cores preserve evidence of rare but impactful changes in Earth’s history, often called 'black swan' events, as well as smaller environmental changes.

Lonnie Thompson and Ellen Mosley-Thompson at The Ohio State University have been studying ice cores from around the world for over 30 years. They collect, store and study ice cores to understand the history of the Earth’s climate and preserve them for future scientists. In this interview, they explain how ice cores preserve evidence of rare but impactful changes in Earth’s history, often called 'black swan' events, as well as smaller environmental changes and why it is necessary to preserve the ice cores and the glaciers they come from.

In the largest-ever study of glacial lakes, researchers using 30 years of NASA satellite data have found that the volume of these lakes worldwide has increased by about 50% since 1990 as glaciers melt and retreat due to climate change.

The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, will aid researchers assessing the potential hazards to communities downstream of these often unstable lakes and help improve the accuracy of sea level rise estimates by advancing our understanding of how glacial meltwater is transported to the oceans.

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