Visiting any world-famous sites this summer?
They may be at risk of damage from climate change, according to new report released last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists, UNESCO and the United Nations Environment Programme. From Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. to Venice, Italy to rice fields in the Philippines, the study lists 31 natural and cultural UNESCO World Heritage sites in 29 countries that are vulnerable to increasing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas, intensifying weather events, worsening droughts and longer wildfire seasons. It documents climate impacts at iconic tourism sites—including the Statue of Liberty, Stonehenge and the Galápagos Islands—and other World Heritage sites such as South Africa’s Cape Floral Region Protected Areas; the Port, Fortresses and city of Cartagena, Colombia; and Shiretoko Peninsula in Japan.
World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate warns that countries must spend billions to protect World Heritage sites from climate change—as well as mass tourism—to ensure that these unparalleled sites aren’t lost.
The report was covered by hundreds of outlets worldwide in multiple languages—Italian, German, Portuguese, French, Spanish and so on. Stories ran in the New York Times, New Yorker, Sky News, BBC and Guardian. Independent, ANSA, La Stampa, Le Monde and Deutsche Welle were also among the many outlets that covered the study.