Global warming could harm UNESCO Heritage sites

The UN has released a list of heritage sites that could be negatively effected by global warming, however one place has withdrawn their name from that list in fears it could harm tourism

What do Stonehenge, the Statue of Liberty, Venice, and Lake Mawali National Park all have in common? Well, other than being popular tourist destinations, they all could be effected by global warming in the years to come.

According to the UN News Centre, 31 natural and cultural World Heritage sites have been placed on a list by the United Nations as vulnerable to threats due to global warming. This includes three different attractions and parks in the United States including the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone, and Mesa Verde National Park.

Elisa Tonda, head of the UN Environmental Program’s (UNEP) Responsible Industry and Value Chains Unit, noted how the places that could be effected by global warming came from a variety of different nations and that it would be in everyone’s interest to come together to solve this problem.

“World governments, the private sector, and tourists all need to coordinate their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and to protect the world’s most treasured cultural and natural resources from the impact of tourism activities,” said Tonda.

However, one that has been repeatedly been in the news due to negative effects of global warming was removed from the list at the last minute. According to Business Insider, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef was absent from the list despite the reef’s coral bleaching dilemma caused by warmer waters. These warmer waters, of course, have been proven to be a side effect of global warming.

The removal of the Great Barrier Reef from the list, a move condemned by scientists, comes from a request of the Australian UNESCO ambassador, who argued that putting it on the list might steer tourists away. However, native Australians and tourists know that it’s nothing new if Australia were to be put onto the list as many are aware of the damage caused by coral bleaching.

“The science is really well known, that’s not a problem at all so it’s nothing new to the tourism industry,” said Will Steffen, a climate scientist at the Australian National University in the country’s capital. “It’s nothing new to the scientific community at all. So it’s really hard to see what’s so provocative in that report.”



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