Climate Change to wipe out Africa’s glaciers to by 2050
Glaciers in at least one-third of World Heritage sites possessing them, - including the last ones in Africa -, will disappear by mid-century even if emissions are curbed, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization warned in a new report Thursday.
Even if global warming is limited to just 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), which now seems unlikely, all the glaciers across the globe - including the last ones in Africa - will be unavoidably lost by 2050 due to climate change, UNSESCO says.
Other glaciers can be saved only if greenhouse gas emissions “are drastically cut” and global warming is capped at 1.5 degrees Celsius, the Paris-based UNESCO warned in its report.
“This report is a call to action,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement and linked the report to United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP27, which is set to begin in Egypt next week. “COP27 will have a crucial role to help find solutions to this issue.”
About 50 of the organization’s more than 1,150 World Heritage sites have glaciers, which together constitute almost a tenth of the world’s glaciered area.
The retreat and disappearance of glaciers was "among the most dramatic evidence that Earth's climate is warming", the report said.
"We hope we might be wrong, but this is the hard science," said UNESCO project officer Tales Carvalho Resende, one of the authors. "Glaciers are one of the valuable indicators of climate change, because they're visible. This is something we can really see happening."
The remaining glaciers in the other two thirds of UN World Heritage sites could be saved, but only if the world limits global warming to 1.5C, the authors say. Another UN report last week found that the world currently had "no credible pathway" to achieve that.