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Global Warming Threatens World's Natural Wonders

Alaskan Salmon, Southwest Among Areas Examined in New Report

WASHINGTON ­– A new report from WWF shows how global warming threatens ten of the world’s greatest natural wonders, including two in the United States.  Saving the World's Natural Wonders from Climate Change finds that global warming is already affecting places like the Amazon and Himalayas.

Released ahead of the International Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Second Working Group, the report also details the work being undertaken in each of the ten regions to build defenses against the damaging impacts of climate change.

“While we continue to pressure governments to make meaningful cuts in heat trapping greenhouse gas emissions, we are also working on adaptation strategies to offer protection to some of the world’s natural wonders as well as the livelihoods of the people who live there,” says Dr Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist of WWF’s Global Climate Change Program. “We are trying to buy people and nature time, as actions to stop the root cause of climate change are taken.”

For instance, the Yangtze River is facing water shortages as glaciers continue to retreat. In response to the crisis facing China's Yangtze River, WWF is assessing the situation and setting up pilot projects which will show government and local communities how best to adapt to climate change impacts.

Meanwhile, increased incidence of forest fires could spell the end of one of the world’s greatest forests. The Valdivian forests in Chile and Argentina include trees up to 3,000 years old. WWF and local partners are fighting for conservation area protection status for all areas of resistant forests.

“From turtles to tigers – from the desert of Chihuahua to the great Amazon – all these wonders of nature are at risk from warming temperatures,” says Lara Hansen. “While adaptation to changing climate can save some, only drastic action by governments to reduce emissions can hope to stop their complete destruction.”

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The WWF briefing Saving the world's natural wonders from climate change presents ten regions, the climate change impacts, and the activities that WWF sets to combat the threats. The ten regions are the Great Barrier Reef and other coral reefs; the Chihuahua desert in Mexico and the US; Hawksbill turtles in the Caribbean; the oldest Climate Witness alive; Valdivian temperate rainforests; tigers and people in the Indian Sundarbans; the Upper Yangtze river in China; the Amazon; the fate of the wild salmon in the Bering Sea; melting glaciers in the Himalayas; and East African coastal forests.