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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

World heritage glaciers in danger

Researchers of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have published a study showing that almost half of the natural world heritage sites with glaciers could become completely ice free by 2100 if the global emission of pollutants continues at the present rate.

According to the forecast, if high-level emissions are maintained, 21 of the 46 natural world heritage sites with glaciers could lose all their ice by the end of the century, while if emissions are reduced, that number would drop to 8.

“Losing these iconic glaciers would be a tragedy and have major consequences for the availability of water resources, sea level rise and weather patterns,”

said Peter Shadie, the director of the IUCN World Heritage Programme, adding that such unprecedented decline would also jeopardise the classification of those areas as world heritage sites.

The Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland Photo: Shutterstock

The specialist emphasised that “States must reinforce their commitments to combat climate change and step up efforts to preserve these glaciers for future generations.”

The authors say that the sites involved are home to some of the world’s best-known glaciers, such as the Aletsch Glacier in Switzerland, the Khumbu Glacier in the Himalayas and Greenland’s Jakobshavn Glacier.

Further information: IUCN

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