New publication on losses and damages connected to glacier retreat in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru

New publication on losses and damages connected to glacier retreat in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru

In a recent study published in Climatic Change, Alina Motschmann, Christian Huggel, Randy Muñoz, and co-authors quantified loss and damage in the Cordillera Blanca, the largest and highest mountain range of Peru, now and under future scenarios. Using various methods such as literature review, glacial lake outburst flood, and hydrologic modeling, the authors analyzed impacts of mountain cryosphere change through a lens of Loss and Damage (L&D), a mechanism of international climate policy that tries to evaluate and reduce negative consequences of climate change for societies. The study focused on three major dimensions of cryospheric change and associated human impacts: (i) ice loss; (ii) glacial hazards; and (iii) variability of water availability. Damage and losses were assessed in terms of the number of people affected by glacial hazards, monetized agricultural crop loss due to water loss, and non-economic values local people attribute to glacier loss.

The study showed that different levels of warming have important negative but differentiated effects on natural and human systems. The extent of loss and damage will largely be determined by governance and adaptation decisions such as water resource management and disaster risk management.

The results of this multidisciplinary paper, which draws on research from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities, as well as from local and traditional ecological knowledge, can inform L&D policy in a more tangible way. L&D has gained traction in climate policy in recent years. However, both science and policy have failed to concretely define the physical processes and socio-economic contexts associated with these losses and damages.

This publication is Alina‘s first PhD paper. Alina is leading the Agua Futuro project, which focuses on the highly glaciated Santa and Vilcanota river basins in Peru and integrates hydrodinamic and socioeconomic data.

Congratulations, Alina!

Read the full article “Losses and damages connected to glacier retreat in the Cordillera Blanca, Peru” here.

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