Sustainability News

The Alpine Club Green Group works to assist the club in initiating and contributing to mountaineering sustainability objectives. You can follow news of their work here and via the Green Group Home Page.


New Radio Episode: 'Saving Asia's Water Towers' with Ed Douglas

New Radio Episode: 'Saving Asia's Water Towers' with Ed Douglas

In the second episode of his new series with the BBC World Service, Alpine Journal Editor and AC Green Group member Ed Douglas visits climate change mitigation projects in the Himalaya. 

A thumbnail image with a play button in the bottom left-hand corner shows a man sat on the roof of his house. Behind him a valley stretches into the distance, a powerful river at its base.

As Ed details in the episode, Himalayan glaciers are integral to the lives of billions of people in Asia and their loss, as a result of climate change, could have devastating consequences. You can listen to the episode here.

This is the second in a series of three episodes from Ed around the broader theme of human lives in the Himalaya and is being broadcast as part of the World Service's 'The Compass'. The first episode is also available here.




BMC Launches New Crag & Upland Restoration Fund

BMC Launches New Crag & Upland Restoration Fund

The BMC have announced the creation of a new £10,000 per year fund, to be distributed in small amounts of £250 - £1,000. The fund has been set up to enable individuals, clubs and groups to undertake practical work on crags and upland areas that improves access, promotes nature conservation and/or enhances the overall environment.

Full details can be found via the BMC website.




Deadline for 2022 UIAA Mountain Protection Award Approaches

Deadline for 2022 UIAA Mountain Protection Award Approaches

Submissions for this year's Mountain Protection Award will close on the 31st of May. 

A snow-capped mountain range with trees in the foreground.

Launched in 2013, the Mountain Protection Award provides funding to projects (new and existing) that undertake work relating to "adapting to climate change, protecting biodiversity, preserving local cultures of mountainous communities and promoting responsible practices". Past recipients include Community Action Nepal and Mountain Wilderness.

The initiative has been active since 2013 and, via its current partnership with Bally Peak Outdoor Foundation, €15,000 of funding is available to 2022 applicants. You can find out more about the MPA and submit your proposals here.




Free Sustainable Climbing Guide to Tyrol Set for Release

Free Sustainable Climbing Guide to Tyrol Set for Release

Lena Müller and Deniz Scheerer have announced that their new guidebook 'Klimafreundlich Klettern' will be released in mid-May 2022. The guidebook is pitched as a sustainable climbing guide to the Tyrol, offering advice on accessing climbing areas by bus, train, bike and foot. 

As well as physical copies available for sale, the guide will also be accessible for free online at this link. Müller is a PhD student specialising in climate change and has made accessibility to the guide a key priority of the project.

The 21 crags covered by the guide are: 

Nassereith, Götterwandl, Karres, Haiminger Klettergarten, Simmering, Klettergarten Mötz, Locherboden, Rammelstein, Oetz, Armelen, Engelswand, Mauerbogen, Chinesische Mauer, Flämendwandl, Sonnenplatte, Ehnbachklamm, Martinswand, Höttinger Steinbruch, Grauwand, Morsbach, Geisterschmiedwand




What does the Future hold for the Glaciated and High Mountain World?

What does the Future hold for the Glaciated and High Mountain World?

As a mountaineer, you will surely care about the natural environment and appreciate the pristine, relatively unspoilt beauty of many mountain wildernesses. It is also likely that you want future generations to be able to appreciate the beauty and majesty of those environments. But what is the likelihood of that happening and what does the future hold for the glaciated and high mountain world?


In 2015, 196 parties signed up to a historic accord, the Paris Climate Agreement, with the aim of limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees above pre-industrial and preferably below 1.5 degrees. These numbers are not arbitrary. In the case of the frozen world (the cryosphere), overshooting 1.5⁰ C will result in passing irreversible and dangerous thresholds ( and we are already at 1.1⁰ C of warming. That might not sound like much but global ecosystems, the cryosphere and humans are in a delicate balance with the rest of the climate system with reinforcing feedbacks that amplify these seemingly small changes to atmospheric temperatures. It is, however, not just the magnitude but also the rate at which humans are modifying the climate system that is a problem.

The graph above shows CO2 concentrations (blue) in the atmosphere alongside atmospheric temperature (red) for the last 800,000 years. CO2 levels have not been as high as they are now for at least 3 million years and are increasing at a rate that is unprecedented in the ice core records such as the one above. The present-day temperature increase lags behind CO2 as the climate responds to the unprecedented rise in greenhouse gases. Hence, even if we stopped burning fossil fuels tomorrow, the red line would carry on upwards. We are entering new and uncharted territory for the climate system. National commitments to meet the Paris Agreement (called NDCs) currently commit us to warming of about 3⁰ C so are well below the threshold to limit catastrophic climate breakdown.

Mountain glaciers around the world are currently receding at an unprecedented rate since the start of the Industrial Revolution and the latest research identifies human-induced climate warming as almost entirely responsible (Roe et al., 2021). A paper published in April 2021 provides the most detailed and complete picture of glacier wastage over the last two decades from over 1 million satellite images and shows how mass loss has been accelerating during this time for most of the 200,000 plus glaciers around the world (Hugonnet et al., 2021). If we continue on our current trajectory, the latest projections indicate that over half of mountain glacier ice will have melted and for low latitude and lower altitude regions they will be almost completed gone by the end of the century (Shannon et al., 2019). By 2050, Western Canada and the USA (excluding Alaska), central Europe and parts of Asia could be completely void of glaciers alongside many other damaging impacts.

The fate of one small glacier in the Pyrenees that survived since before Roman times but has now almost completely disappeared (Moreno et al., 2021).
On the left is the pre-industrial reconstruction of extent and the right the present-day remnant parts.

That is why, for example, the UK government aims to put into law a reduction of 78% in CO2 emissions by 2035, which, for the first time includes our share of international aviation and shipping. That is the kind of commitment required to stand a fighting chance of not overshooting 1.5⁰ C (again see To achieve that reduction is a huge challenge but, just like anything in life, if you don’t know where you’re going you’re unlikely to ever get there. It will require legislation and profound changes to the way we operate but it will also require change at the individual level and each of us can help protect what we cherish for future generations. We need to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 (relative to 2010) to avoid a dangerous overshoot. That means about a 6-7% reduction per year which is roughly what happened in 2020 during a global pandemic (it’s more than 5% because it’s relative to 2010 values). If each of us reduced our flights, car-miles, consumption and waste by that amount a year we can make a difference. Just like one nurse or doctor cannot change the course of the current pandemic, collectively they can save millions of lives. Collectively, we can do the same for the planet we live on and the mountain environments we care so much about, value and cherish.


This article was written by Alpine Club Green Group member Jonathan Bamber, Professor of Glaciology & Earth Observation at the University of Bristol and former President of the European Geosciences Union.

It first appeared in the Alpine Club Newsletter of March 2022.