“Glaciers at some of the world’s most famous World Heritage sites are set to vanish within 30 years due to climate change — including those at Yosemite National Park, a new UN report warns. Threat level: “Glaciers in a third of the 50 World Heritage sites are condemned to disappear by 2050, regardless of efforts to limit temperature increases,” according to the UNESCO report, published Thursday.
- Also at risk of disappearing are the ice patches at Yellowstone National Park, which was this year hit by historic flooding, and Africa’s last glaciers — including Mount Kilimanjaro.
By the numbers: Researchers studied some 18,600 glaciers at 50 World Heritage sites, covering some 25,000 square miles and found they’ve “been retreating at an accelerated rate since 2000 due to CO2 emissions, which are warming temperatures,” according to the report.
- Glaciers at World Heritage sites were losing about 58 billion tonnes of ice every year and accounted for up to 4.5% of observed global sea level rise, according to the study, published ahead of next week’s COP27 climate change conference in Egypt.
What we’re watching: It “is still possible to save the glaciers in the remaining two thirds of sites if the rise in temperatures does not exceed 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period,” the report notes.
Yes, but: The world is on track to exceed that Paris Agreement target in the next five years.
Between the lines: “What is quite unprecedented in the historical record is how quickly this is happening,” said Beata Csatho, a glaciologist from the University of Buffalo, to the BBC.”