Climate Change Savaging Natural Wonders: Report

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November 13, 2017

The world's wetlands and other natural wonders are increasingly under attack from climate change, a new report concludes.

The report, from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), found that 62 natural wonders around the world were damaged and at risk from global warming; that figure has doubled in just three years.

One category particularly hard hit is coral reefs. Global warming in recent years has caused serious damage not only to the world's most famous reef, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, but also to the Northern Hemisphere's largest reef, off Belize, and to many others. Australia has 10 natural heritage sites rated as high risk from climage change, according to the report.

That same global warming has shrunk glaciers on islands and mountains, including the Rocky Mountains and Mount Kilimanjaro. The largest Alpine glacier, Jungfrau-Aletsch in the Swiss Alps, has shrunk rapidly in recent years.

The Everglades are an example of a wetlands that has experienced a rise in sea level. Elsewhere, rising river levels have created fierce flooding. More famously, the sea has already swallowed a few islands in the Bay of Bengal and is threatening a handful of island nations in the Pacific.

The report was published to coincide with the United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany.

The IUCN lists 241 natural heritage sites worldwide and said that about one-third of those are under threat, from climate change and from other factors such as tourism and poaching.

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