Some of the most famous glaciers in the world, including the Dolomites in Italy, the Yosemite and Yellowstone parks, and Mount Kilimanjaro, are set to disappear in 2050 thanks to global warming, according to a new report by UNESCO.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is responsible for monitoring around 18,600 glaciers at 50 of its World Heritage sites. They now say that the glaciers in one-third of the World Heritage sites will disappear by 2050, no matter what we do to try to reverse it. Regardless of climate scenarios, the damage has been done, and the agency says that we will lose these incredible glaciers due to global warming.
The report, however, states that we can save the rest if we can manage to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) relative to pre-industrial levels. If we continue to do what we are doing with no change, they say that 50 percent of these World Heritage glaciers could almost entirely disappear by 2100.
Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO’s Director-General, emphasized how important the upcoming U.N.’s COP27 climate conference will be for looking at solutions to this issue. Azoulay said in a statement, “This report is a call to action. Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions levels can save glaciers and the exceptional biodiversity that depends on them.”
The lead author of the report, Tales Carvalho, told Reuters that World Heritage glaciers lose on average 58 billion tons of ice each year, which is equivalent to the total annual volume of water used in France and Spain combined. The melting also contributes to almost 5 percent of global sea-level rise.
UNESCO is recommending that local authorities make glaciers a focus of policy and improve monitoring and research.
“As glacier lakes fill up, they can burst and can cause catastrophic floods downstream,” Carvalho said.
Cutting your carbon footprint is the surest way to minimize the amount of warming greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere. While you can do many little things like shutting off lights when you leave your house, choosing to walk instead of driving and switching over to energy-efficient appliances – there is one simple action that often goes overlooked that has the highest positive impact: eating plant-based.
Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transportation sector combined. In addition, this industry occupies 45 percent of arable land, uses 23 percent of global freshwater resources, and is responsible for rampant deforestation, water drought, and air pollution. By shifting away from meat and dairy products and choosing plant-based alternatives instead, you can help lower this rate of destruction. In just one year of eating plant-based, you can halve your carbon footprint – that’s pretty powerful!
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Easy Ways to Help the Planet:
- Eat Less Meat: Download Food Monster, the largest plant-based recipe app on the App Store, to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy. You can also buy a hard or soft copy of our favorite vegan cookbooks.
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