Sep 25, 2019

Mont Blanc glacier could collapse, experts warn

Mount Blanc. Photo: Pino Pacifico/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Italian authorities closed roads and evacuated mountain homes in northwestern Italy on Wednesday after experts warned that 250,000 cubic meters of ice could break away from a glacier on the Mont Blanc massif in the Alps at any moment, according to The Guardian.

Why it matters: A geologist who has monitored the glacier since 2013 told the New York Times that, although climate change was not directly connected to the creation of the crevasse, its melting rate has significantly increased as a result of rising temperatures.

What they're saying: Geologist Daniele Giordan said a chilly fall could close the crack and prevent a massive ice avalanche that would threaten anyone in the popular hiking location, per the NYT.

  • Stefano Miserocchi, the mayor of Courmayeur — a town in the region — said he issued a pre-emptive order to clear the resort community.

The big picture: Experts sent the warning a day after the United Nations published a report blaming climate change for rapidly melting glaciers and ice sheets, which cover nearly 10% of Earth's land area.

  • The report said the receding glaciers and ice sheets have altered the ecosystems of high mountain regions around the world and that some cold-adapted or snow-dependent species have declined in abundance, increasing their risk of extinction.
  • “...many glaciers are projected to disappear regardless of future emissions,” the report added.

Go deeper: In photos: Hundreds mourn Swiss glacier's loss to global warming

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Key science report shows "unprecedented" changes to oceans and frozen regions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Global warming is greatly transforming the planet's oceans and frozen regions, and future emissions levels will dictate how much additional harm unfolds this century and beyond, a major United Nations-led scientific analysis shows.

Why it matters: "The ocean is warmer, more acidic and less productive. Melting glaciers and ice sheets are causing sea level rise, and coastal extreme events are becoming more severe," the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a statement alongside Wednesday's report.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019

GitHub and Microsoft employees protest renewed contract with ICE

Anti-ICE protestors in New York City in September targeted businesses profiting from the crisis at the border. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

GitHub employees sent a letter to their CEO on Wednesday demanding the tech company drop its recently renewed, $200,000 contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, citing human rights concerns, the Washington Post reports.

What's new: Employees from Microsoft are circulating a letter endorsing their Github subsidiary to cancel the contract after GitHub CEO Nat Friedman stood by the platform's renewal with the government agency, Bloomberg reports.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 10, 2019

New climate consensus moves forward without the U.S.

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos by Win McNamee, Alex Wong, Horacio Villalobos - Corbis/Corbis, Oliver Douliery/AFP, and Noam Galai Via Getty Images

The world's top economic institutions are going deeper in the fight against climate change, and central banks are re-evaluating policies and pushing new principles to integrate climate-related risks into financial supervision, leaving the U.S. behind.

On one side: The effects of climate change are everywhere, European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane said during the IMF's fall meetings last week.

Go deeperArrowOct 22, 2019