A third of the glaciers of UNESCO World Heritage sites will disappear by 2050.
Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images
There are glaciers in 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in North America and around the world. A third of these glaciers will disappear by 2050 due to planet-warming carbon emissions, new research warns.
The remaining two-thirds can still be saved, but only if global temperatures do not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times, UNESCO says.
World Heritage Sites are places that have outstanding natural and cultural heritage and that world leaders have agreed to protect.
UNESCO reportwhich was published ahead of the COP27 climate conference starting in Egypt on Sunday, is being prepared.
About 18,600 glaciers are found in World Heritage Sites, representing about one-tenth of the Earth’s glaciated area, but they are shrinking rapidly. Glaciers in these 50 locations lose about 58 billion tons of ice each year and contribute to nearly 5% of global sea level rise.
Affected glaciers spread across the globe
The last remaining glaciers in Africa are predicted to melt by 2050, including those in Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kenya. The fastest melting glaciers are on the list Three Parallel Rivers National Park in Yunnan Province, China. Since 2000, the glaciers there have already lost more than 57% of their mass.
Glaciers in Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks in the US are likely to disappear by 2050. Glaciers found along the US-Canada border Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park have already lost more than a quarter of their volume in the last 20 years.
Other glaciers at risk include glaciers in the Dolomites in Italy, the Pyrenees in France, Los Alerses National Park in Argentina, Huascarán National Park in Peru, and Te Wahipunamu in New Zealand.
Melting glaciers will make millions less water
Melting glaciers affect not only the environment, but also people, said Bruno Oberle, director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. statement was released on Thursday.
“As glaciers melt rapidly, millions of people face water scarcity and increased risk of natural disasters such as floods, and millions may be displaced by rising sea levels,” Oberle said.
“This study highlights the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and invest in nature-based solutions that can help mitigate climate change and allow people to better adapt to its impacts,” he added.
As world climate leaders gather at COP27, UNESCO is calling for an international glacier monitoring and conservation fund to support research, strengthen links between stakeholders and implement disaster risk and early warning measures.
“This report is a call to action,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Just a quick reduction of our CO2: emission levels could save glaciers and the unique biodiversity that depends on them.”
#glaciers #UNESCO #World #Heritage #sites #disappear