Cli­mate Change Im­per­ils One in Four Nat­u­ral Her­itage Sites

Iran News - - WORLD NEWS -

LON­DON (Dis­patches) - Among the ecosys­tems most threat­ened by global warm­ing are co­ral reefs which bleach as oceans heat up

Cli­mate change im­per­ils one in four nat­u­ral World Her­itage sites, in­clud­ing co­ral reefs, glaciers, and wet­lands -- nearly dou­ble the num­ber from just three years ago, a re­port said Mon­day.

The num­ber of sites at risk has grown to 62 from 35 in 2014, when one in seven were listed, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Na­ture (IUCN), which re­leased the re­port at UN cli­mate talks in Bonn, Ger­many.

Among the ecosys­tems most threat­ened by global warm­ing are co­ral reefs which bleach as oceans heat up, and glaciers which melt.

“Cli­mate change acts fast and is not spar­ing the finest trea­sures of our planet,” said IUCN di­rec­tor gen­eral Inger An­der­sen.

“Cli­mate change now threat­ens the very fab­ric of our so­ci­ety, threat­ens our iden­tity, an iden­tity that is grounded in the rich and yet del­i­cate patch­work of nat­u­ral her­itage,” she told jour­nal­ists in Bonn.

The re­port found that 29 per­cent of World Her­itage sites faced “sig­nif­i­cant” threats, and seven per­cent -- in­clud­ing the Ever­glades Na­tional Park in the United States and Lake Turkana in Kenya -- had a “crit­i­cal” out­look.

“The scale and pace at which it (cli­mate change) is dam­ag­ing our nat­u­ral her­itage un­der­line the need for ur­gent and am­bi­tious na­tional com­mit­ments and ac­tions to im­ple­ment the Paris Agree­ment,” said An­der­sen.

Ne­go­tia­tors are gath­ered in Bonn to work out a nuts-and-bolts rule­book for ex­e­cut­ing the pact adopted by nearly 200 coun­tries in the French cap­i­tal in 2015.

The agree­ment seeks to limit aver­age global warm­ing caused by green­house gases from fos­sil-fuel burn­ing to under two de­grees Cel­sius (3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit) over pre-in­dus­trial lev­els, and to 1.5 C if pos­si­ble.

The 1 C mark has al­ready been passed, and sci­en­tists say that on cur­rent coun­try pledges to cut emis­sions, the world is headed for a 3 C fu­ture.

The IUCN mon­i­tors more than 200 nat­u­ral Her­itage Sites listed by the UN Ed­u­ca­tional Sci­en­tific and Cul­tural Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UN­ESCO).

Three World Her­itage-listed co­ral reefs -- the Aldabra Atoll in the In­dian Ocean, the Belize Bar­rier Reef in the At­lantic, and Aus­tralia’s Great Bar­rier Reef, the big­gest on Earth -- have been af­fected by “dev­as­tat­ing” bleach­ing events over the last three years, said the IUCN re­port.

Co­rals “bleach” when they are stressed by en­vi­ron­men­tal changes -- due to ocean warm­ing or pol­lu­tion.

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