Report Warns of Climate Change Disasters That Rival Hollywood’s
Stonehenge eroding under the forces of extreme weather. The city of Venice slowly collapsing into its canals. The gradual flooding of the Statue of Liberty.
在极端天气的威力下，巨石阵正遭到侵蚀。威尼斯正慢慢沉入运河。自由女神像(Statue of Liberty)渐渐被淹没。
Images like these, familiar from Hollywood climate-catastrophe thrillers, were evoked by a joint report, released on Thursday by Unesco, the United Nations Environment Program and the Union of Concerned Scientists, that detailed the threat climate change could pose to World Heritage sites on five continents.
这样的画面经常出现在好莱坞的气候灾难惊悚片中。周四，联合国教科文组织(Unesco)、联合国环境规划署(United Nations Environment Program)、忧思科学家联盟(Union of Concerned Scientists)联合发布的报告也让人联想起这些画面。这份报告详细描述了气候变化可能对五个大洲的世界遗产遗址造成的威胁。
(The Guardian reported on Thursday that the Australian continent was originally included in the report, but that its government requested it be removed because of concerns that the information would hurt its tourism industry.)
Adam Markham, the deputy director for climate and energy at the Union of Concerned Scientists and the report’s lead author, said that while many of the sites were bound to be affected by factors including a rise in sea levels, intense storms and wildfires, planning could go a long way toward protecting them.
“It is a very tough challenge, but if we recognize the scale of the problem — and I don’t think most people realize how big it is or how fast the changes are coming — then I think there is a lot we can do,” he said.
The report highlights 31 sites in 29 countries that have already felt some impact from climate change, including well-known tourist destinations like Easter Island and Yellowstone National Park. It was drawn from peer-reviewed science literature, technical reports and local experts, as well as domestic evaluations of the sites prepared for the World Heritage Committee.
这份报告重点提到29个国家的31处已经感受到气候变化影响的遗址，包括一些著名旅游目的地，比如复活节岛(Easter Island)和黄石国家公园(Yellowstone National Park)。这份报告依据的是经过同行评议的科学文献、技术报告和当地专家，也有各国为世界遗产委员会(World Heritage Committee)准备的国内遗址评估。
Though the report emphasizes the importance of the recent Paris climate accord, Mr. Markham said that emissions already affecting the climate are likely to create “a lot of change and impact.”
“We don’t have enough resources to save every threatened asset,” he said. “Can we save every lighthouse that is on an eroding cliff? Probably not. So there are going to have to be hard choices made in every country.”
Thirteen listed heritage sites were examined in comprehensive case studies intended to demonstrate the way climate change has already had an impact. In a study of the Statue of Liberty, for instance, the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which scientists have shown were exacerbated by a rise in the sea level, are explored at length.
Rebecca Beavers, the coastal adaptation coordinator of the National Park Service who helps the agency plan for the impact of climate change, and was an adviser on the report, said the damage to the facilities and infrastructure at the Statue of Liberty from the 2012 storm had precipitated a new focus on how best to contend with extreme weather.
美国国家公园管理局(National Park Service)的海岸适应协调员丽贝卡·比弗斯(Rebecca Beavers)帮助该机构规划应对气候变化影响的措施，她也是这份报告的顾问。她说，2012年的飓风“桑迪”对自由女神像的设备和基础设施的损害，促使相关方面把注意力转向思考对抗极端天气的最佳方法。
“I think that it’s important to recognize that adaptation is continuous change,” Ms. Beavers said. “It’s not isolated action, it’s not a single step. It really is a process.”
The report includes a series of recommendations for government agencies, the tourism industry and heritage site managers. It emphasizes that the sites themselves represented a trove of historical information on human responses to extreme weather, and that the archaeological data they held could help guide policy makers.
Mr. Markham, who is British, said he personally was very upset about what was happening to Skara Brae, a 5,000-year-old Neolithic settlement that is one of many sites off the coast of Scotland at risk from coastal erosion.
“This is the famous one, which I’ve never seen and I want to be able to see, but I care about all of those sites,” Mr. Markham said. “For me, that is my cultural heritage, disappearing into the ocean.”