Large glaciers in Yosemite and Kilimanjaro will disappear by 2050

Large glaciers in Yosemite and Kilimanjaro will disappear by 2050: UN

Giraffe in the savannah with a snowy Kilimanjaro in the background, Amboseli National Park, Kenya.

Dea / V. Giannella | De Agostini | Getty Images

Major glaciers around the world, including the Dolomites in Italy, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and the US’s Yosemite and Yellowstone parks, will be gone by 2050 even as global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, the UN Organization for Education has said , science and culture in a report on Thursday.

Even if global temperature rise is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), an increasingly unlikely scenario, at least a third of the approximately 18,000 glaciers in the 50 World Heritage Sites will disappear by mid-century.

“This report is a call to action. Only a rapid reduction in our CO2 emissions can save glaciers and the outstanding biodiversity that depend on them,” UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.

The other glaciers can only be saved if emissions are drastically reduced and global temperatures do not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, UNESCO warned in its report. According to the report, half of humanity depends directly or indirectly on glaciers for a source of water for domestic use, agriculture and energy.

Hal Klieforth, 81, looks out over Lyell Glacier in Yosemite National Park in California September 24, 2008.

Randy Pench | Tribune News Service | Getty Images

Glaciers in Africa are likely to be the hardest hit by climate change. According to UNESCO, glaciers will be “very likely” to have disappeared from all of the continent’s World Heritage sites by 2050, including Kilimanjaro National Park and Mount Kenya.

World Heritage glaciers, which account for about 10% of the world’s glacial area, lose about 58 billion tons of ice every year – equivalent to the combined annual water use of France and Spain. Melting is responsible for almost 5% of observed global sea level rise, the report said.

“When glaciers melt rapidly, millions of people face water scarcity and increased risk of natural disasters such as flooding, and millions more could be displaced by the resulting rise in sea levels,” said Bruno Oberle, director-general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The findings come ahead of the UN climate conference COP27, which the report’s authors say will play a crucial role in finding solutions to speed up ice melt.

How floating cities and amphibious homes can help coastal cities adapt to sea level rise