Threatened heritage: the climate risk; Chris Fitch; Geographical

 

Belize – Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System

Sixty-two of the natural World Heritage Sites are now at risk from the impact of climate change, a number which has nearly doubled in just three years.

If we need evidence of the growing impact humans are having on the environment, look no further than the 241 UNESCO Natural (or mixed Cultural and Natural) World Heritage Sites, those sites of outstanding universal value containing ‘areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance’, ‘outstanding examples representing major stages of earth’s history’, ‘outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes’, or containing ‘the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity’. In 2014, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) signalled that thirty-five of these sites were threatened by climate change. Just three years later, this number has rapidly escalated, with at least sixty-two now indicated to be at risk.

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