Climate Change Threatens Dozens of World Heritage Sites Across the Globe
These cultural monuments are at risk due sea-level rise, flooding, and erosion.
The study, published by Nature Communications on Tuesday, examines the environmental threats to World Heritage sites located in low-lying coastal areas in the Mediterranean and found that of the 49 assessed, 37 are vulnerable to floods within the next 100 years and 42 to coastal erosion.
Climate change could have devastating effects on these iconic sites if serious action is not taken soon, the study suggests.
"Adaptation planning is urgently needed," Lena Reimann, lead author and a doctoral researcher for the Coastal Risks and Sea-Level Rise Research Group in Germany told CNN. "If our common heritage is destroyed or lost, it is not possible to replace or rebuild it."
There are nearly 1,100 cultural sites on the World Heritage List, with a high concentration in Italy, Croatia, and Greece.
The list of World Heritage sites threatened by climate change includes incredible architectural feats like the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy, constructed in the 14th century, and the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey which was built in the early 17th century.
Climate change not only threatens these cultural icons but also poses a threat to ecosystems, biodiversity, and human health. But all hope is not lost for these cultural monuments.
"If rigorous climate change mitigation is pursued as planned under the Paris Agreement, future increases in flood risk and erosion risk could be kept to a minimum," she told CNN.