UNESCO: One-third of glaciers in World Heritage Sites to disappear by 2050

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UNESCO: One-third of glaciers in World Heritage Sites to disappear by 2050

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has warned that by 2050 many World Heritage sites will be deglaciated.

Current Affairs Important Points

What were the findings of the UNESCO survey?

  • A survey of 18,600 glaciers at 50 World Heritage sites found that, regardless of global efforts to limit temperature rise, one-third of glaciers at these sites will die due to global warming.
  • According to the report, all World Heritage sites in Africa, including Mount Kenya and Kilimanjaro National Park, will be ice-free within three decades.
  • In Europe, some glaciers of the Pyrenees and Dolomites will disappear. This is true of the glaciers of Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks in the United States.
  • These glaciers have been receding at a high rate since 2000 due to carbon emissions.
  • Currently, glaciers are losing 50 billion tons of ice per year. This is equal to the total water consumption of France and Spain. This has resulted in a 5 percent rise in global sea levels.
  • Under business-as-usual conditions, nearly half of the world’s heritage glaciers could disappear entirely by the end of this century.
  • Only swift action to reduce emissions can prevent the glaciers from melting completely and protect the unique biodiversity that depends on them, the report says.
  • It recommended local governments to make glaciers a priority area for policymaking. It also called for increased monitoring and research focusing on glaciers.
  • Currently, the rapid melting of the ice sheets is causing the glacier lakes to fill up. This may cause glacial lakes to break up and flood downstream. Therefore, the report also recommended that disaster risk reduction measures should be strengthened.
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