A Roundtable Discussion with The Mountain Institute and The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Wed, 10/26/2011 - 3:00pm - 5:00pm


The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Mountain Institute

invite you to:

A Roundtable Discussion:

The Environmental and Social Consequences of Glacial Decline:

Why flatlanders need to care about high-altitude changes


Wedneday, October 26th 2011, 3:00 to 5:00 PM

6th Floor Moynihan Board Room, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

1300 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, District of Columbia 20004   


Climate change is impacting mountain environments – and the people who live there – in very dramatic ways.  Glaciers are melting, forests are disappearing and mountain water systems are eroding.  These changes have consequences for mountain communities as well as potentially devastating consequences for downstream communities.

Scientists from the Himalayas, Andes and Appalachians trekked recently to Nepal’s Imja Lake, a new and unstable body of water formed by melting glaciers in the shadow of Mt. Everest.  The expedition reached a number of conclusions that have wide-ranging implications for those living in mountain communities and for policymakers and the public at large.    They include the need for greater focus on community-based research and adaptation efforts in high-altitude regions; recognition that greenhouse gas sequestration and mitigation are no longer sufficient for protecting fragile ecosystems; a sense of urgency in drawing on lessons learned from decades of development in the world’s major mountain systems; and a more sustained effort in pooling and applying the knowledge, research and analytical skills of scientists from around the globe.  Equally important, the expedition concluded that more attention must be given to the experience of mountain people themselves, who have too often been neglected in the fight against consequences of climate change.

This Roundtable will be organized into three parts: (i) a general overview of climate change impacts on high mountain systems and downstream consequences; (ii) a muddy-boots account of the expedition to Imja Lake and lessons learned; and (iii) a discussion of broader policy implications for driving much-needed climate change adaptation strategies, with particular emphasis on involving local communities in the management of follow-up projects.

3:00 p.m. Opening Remarks by Moderator; Imja Lake Film
Moderator: Dr. Gabriel Campbell, Senior Fellow, The Mountain Institute;
Director General, retired, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
“Small Steps,” a film by Daniel Byers
3:15 p.m. First Panel:  Lessons from a Himalayan Glacial Expedition
John Furlow, Climate Change Specialist: Impacts and Adaptation, USAID
Dr. C├ęsar Portocarrero, Director, Glaciology and Water Resources, National Water Authority of Peru
Dr. Alton Byers,Science and Research Director, The Mountain Institute
4:00 p.m. Second Panel: The Global Perspective and Path to Action
Dr. Chad Oliver, Pinchot Professor of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies, and Director of Yale‘s Global Institute of Sustainable Forestry
Sherri Goodman, Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Board Secretary, CNA;
Executive Director of CNA’s Military Advisory Board
Lisa Friedman, Deputy Editor, ClimateWire
Andrew Taber, Executive Director, The Mountain Institute
4:40 to 5:00 Questions; Moderator’s Closing Remarks
Dr. Gabriel Campbell

Please RSVP to ecsp@wilsoncenter.org with your name and affiliation. Note: Due to heightened security, entrance to the building will be restricted; photo identification is required. Please allow additional time to pass through security.  For questions, please contact Rosie Stone: rstone@mountain.org or 202-234-4050, ext 103.