Climate Change Threatens World Natural Wonders, WWF Says
BRUSSELS -- Climate change threatens to destroy the Great Barrier Reef and other natural wonders of the world if nations fail to act to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, environmental group WWF said on Thursday.
"From turtles to tigers, from the desert of Chihuahua to the great Amazon, all these wonders of nature are at risk from warming temperatures," Lara Hansen, the head scientist of WWF's global climate change programme, said in a statement.
"While adaptation to changing climate can save some, only drastic action by governments to reduce emissions can hope to stop their complete destruction."
The group's warning came as leading climate scientists met in Brussels to adopt a report that warns of specific regional dangers from global warming including more hunger in Africa, rising seas, and melting of Himalayan glaciers.
WWF said the Great Barrier Reef was at risk from coral bleaching caused by higher water temperatures. China's Yangtze River, Asia's longest, will suffer from lack of water as glaciers shrink and disappear, it said.
It said the Chihuahuan Desert in North America would suffer as the Rio Grande river depletes. Six out of seven marine turtle species in Latin America and the Caribbean were also endangered as nesting beaches are destroyed by rising sea levels.
Chile and Argentina's Alerce trees, which can live for more than 3,000 years, were at higher risk of perishing from longer periods of drought and increased risk of forest fires.
The group urged nations to take action to adapt to global warming while also halting its advance.