World Heritage sites threatened by climate change; UN urged to seek carbon cuts

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The UN World Heritage Convention, meeting in Christchurch, New Zealand, has been asked to add six sites to its “in-danger” list . They include the Great Barrier Reef, SagarmathaNational Park (which includes Everest) in Nepal, Belize Barrier Reef, Huascaran National Park in Peru, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the U.S.-Canada border, and Australia’s Blue Mountains.

Petitions for the listing, which began in 2004, have attracted high-profile signatories including Everest climber Sir Edmund Hillary and BBC film-maker/naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

The convention was formed in 1972 to ensure the long-term protection of important cultural and natural sites. To date, 184 nations are signatories. Petitioners hope the 21-nation governing committee will acknowledge the threat climate change poses to the sites.

At last year’s meeting, the World Heritage Committee rejected a motion calling for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. This year, campaigners want the governing committee to reconsider its position.

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