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Natural wonders feel the heat


Brussels, Belgium – From the Amazon to the Himalayas, ten of the world’s greatest natural wonders face destruction if the climate continues to warm at the current rate, warns WWF.

Released ahead of the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Second Working Group Report, a WWF briefing — Saving the world’s natural wonders from climate change — reports on how the devastating impacts of global warming are damaging some of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

They include the: Amazon; Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs; Chihuahua Desert in Mexico and the US; hawksbill turtles in the Caribbean; Valdivian temperate rainforests in Chile; tigers and people in the Indian Sundarbans; Upper Yangtze River in China; wild salmon in the Bering Sea; melting glaciers in the Himalayas; and East African coastal forests.

“While we continue to pressure governments to make meaningful cuts in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, we are also working on adaptation strategies to offer protection to some of the world’s natural wonders as well as the livelihoods of the people who live there,” said Dr Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme.

“We are trying to buy people and nature time, as actions to stop the root cause of climate change are taken.”

Faced with water shortages along the Yangtze River, WWF is working in China with the government and local authorities to help communities best adapt to climate change impacts. This includes developing a climate witness project in the Yangtze River basin so that people affected by climate change can speak for themselves.

In the Valdivian forests of Chile and Argentina, the global conservation organization is working with local partners to reduce forest fires and adjust conservation plans to ensure that resistant forests — where 3,000-year-old trees are found — can be protected.

“From turtles to tigers, from the desert of Chihuahua to the great Amazon – all these wonders of nature are at risk from warming temperatures,” stressed Dr Hansen.

“While adaptation to changing climate can save some, only drastic action by governments to reduce emissions can hope to stop their complete destruction.”


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