World Heritage sites threatened by climate change; UN urged to seek carbon cuts

Wed, 2007-06-27 10:29Bill Miller
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World Heritage sites threatened by climate change; UN urged to seek carbon cuts

The UN World Heritage Convention, meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been asked to add six sites to its “in-danger” list . They include the Great Barrier Reef, SagarmathaNational Park (which includes Everest) in Nepal, Belize Barrier Reef, Huascaran National Park in Peru, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the U.S.-Canada border, and Australia’s Blue Mountains.

Petitions for the listing, which began in 2004, have attracted high-profile signatories including Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary and BBC film-maker/naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

The convention was formed in 1972 to ensure the long-term protection of important cultural and natural sites. To date, 184 nations are signatories. Petitioners hope the 21-nation governing committee will acknowledge the threat climate change poses to the sites.

At last year's meeting, the World Heritage Committee rejected a motion calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This year, campaigners want the governing committee to reconsider its position.

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As of January 26, the California Department of Water Resources reported that snowpack statewide was at just 27% of its normal level, which is 15% of the average for April 1, the point at which snow is typically expected to stop accumulating and begin to melt.

Which means, of course, that California is in for another dry year. Melting snowpack provides water to streams and rivers and replenishes reservoirs that are used for drinking water and agriculture.

In a cruel irony, a dry year...

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