One-third of World Heritage sites possessing glaciers will lose their ice by mid-century, according to a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report. In addition, even if global warming is curbed below 1.5 degrees this would still happen.
Among the places that will lose their glaciers include Yosemite National Park, Yellowstone National Park and the few left in Africa. The most concerning factor is that there is little action towards lowering global temperatures. The UNESCO report says that saving the rest of the glaciers on its heritage sites will depend on actions taken. Drastic actions are needed to keep temperatures below the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement that, the report is a call to action. With the report coming out just days before global leaders congregate at the COP27 in Egypt, it is expected to push for action among players.
Over 1,150 World Heritage sites, there are around 50 that have glaciers. These sites constitute about one-tenth of the world’s glaciered area. There are almost 19,000 glaciers located on the 50 heritage sites. These glaciers lose more than 60 billion tons of ice each year, accounting for about 5% of the global sea level rise, according to UNESCO.
The cycle of warming worsens with the melting of glaciers. They leave behind a dark surface that absorbs more heat, making global warming even more intense.
The report harkens a call for drastic cuts in emissions, better monitoring of glaciers and the use of better monitoring systems to respond to disasters. The organization says that natural disasters such as floods cost thousands of lives due to poor monitoring.
The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 is currently underway in Egypt. World leaders must find a way of addressing issues of climate change. With the poor bearing the effects of global warming, third-world countries are demanding more for developed countries.
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