World Heritage glaciers to disappear by 2050 : UNESCO

Tags: Environment International News

World Heritage glaciers to disappear by 2050

According to new UNESCO data, by 2050, one-third of the World's Heritage Sites of Glaciers will disappear. 

Key points of the UNESCO report

  • The report highlights the accelerated melting of glaciers regardless of efforts to limit temperature rise.

  • The report says that it is still possible to save the other two thirds of glaciers, if the rise in global temperatures does not exceed 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period.

  • The study, conducted by UNESCO in partnership with the IUCN, shows that these glaciers have been shrinking at an accelerated rate since 2000 due to CO2 emissions and higher temperatures.

  • Each year, glaciers are currently losing 58 billion tons of ice.

  • This is equivalent to the combined annual water use of France and Spain and is responsible for about 5% of the global sea-level rise.

Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emission

  • The study suggests that the only effective solution to this environmental threat is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as quickly as possible.

  • The report calls for a rapid reduction in CO2 emissions to save the glaciers and the biodiversity it supports.

  • In addition to reducing carbon emissions, UNESCO also advocated the creation of an international fund for glacier monitoring and conservation.

Some of the endangered glaciers

  • Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kenya (Africa)

  • Glaciers in Western Tien-Shan (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan) that have shrunk by 27% since 2000 

  • The Dolomites (Italy) (Europe), 

  • Yellowstone National Park (North America).

Importance of Glaciers

  • Glaciers are important for survival. Half of humanity is directly or indirectly dependent on glaciers as a water source for domestic use, agriculture and electricity.

  • Glaciers are also supporters of biodiversity, which keeps many ecosystems alive.

  • Due to the melting of glaciers, people will have to face other challenges including water scarcity, increasing number of disasters, and loss of biodiversity.

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