Glaciers in the Dolomites in Italy, Yellowstone National Park in the United States and on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania will likely vanish by 2050, according to the United Nations Cultural Organization UNESCO.
A third of all glaciers listed as UNESCO World Heritage areas will disappear by then as the result of global warming, according to a report issued on Thursday by Paris-based UNESCO and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Those glaciers are already losing 58 billion tonnes of ice every year.
There are about 18,600 glaciers spread across 50 different World Heritage sites around the world, according to UNESCO. Together, the glaciers cover roughly 66,000 square kilometres and account for about 10% of the world’s glacier area.
The glaciers have been melting faster since 2000 because of higher CO2 emissions.
Two-thirds of the remaining World Heritage glaciers could still be saved if efforts to combat global warming limit rising temperatures to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.
Experts, however, contend that only radical measures and major global political commitment could keep rising temperatures below the 1.5-degree target.
UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay described the report as “a call to action” for the world to combat climate change ahead of the international COP27 climate conference in Egypt.
“Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions levels can save glaciers and the exceptional biodiversity that depends on them,” Azoulay said. — dpa