Alps & Climate Change

As diplomats and climate experts meet in Paris for the UN Conference on Climate Change, I am posting a few lines about my own personal experience of seeing climate change in the Alps, and in particular the Rhone Glacier.

I have had the privilege of spending my childhood summers in the Swiss Alps, hiking the many beautiful treks through the Bernese and Pennine Alps. I remember always being overwhelmed by the sight of these awesome peaks, dwarfing the scenic beauty of the mountains back home.

Piz Nair

I first became aware of the quite sudden change when driving back through the Furka Pass in 2012. There had been a marked retreat in the size of the Rhone Glacier.

Rhone glacier

I have since followed the scientific write ups by Earth Institute and CRED at Columbia University, New York, found at You may also be interested to see more at the following link by COP21: Rhone Glacier drone footage as part of a scientific survey, shows ice retreat – a fantastic short video from Dr. David Volken. A temperature rise of 2C in the last 150 years has led to a rapid acceleration in the melting of the country’s glaciers. The glaciers are 1,000’s of years old, and has withstood many climate changes in the past. In Southern America, indigenous peoples rely on the glaciers for a supply of drinking water and to provide for their crops and animals.

rhone 3

Stunning Furka Pass by Rhone Glacier.