Say farewell to the Statue of Liberty (and to a fifth of UNESCO sites)

A fifth of UNESCO sites will disappear within a few decades. This, according to a Austro-German study.

Who doesn’t remember the disaster film by Roland Emmerich, The day after tomorrow (2004), in which New York is submerged by water and ice because of crazy weather? The fantastic images of the big screen may be replaced in a few decades by real pictures.


Actually, according to a joint study of the University of Innsbruck and Potsdam published in Environmental research letters, if global temperatures increase by 3 degrees, a number of the Earth’s cultural sites, as well as coastal communities will disappear.


The study aimed to see how many of the 720 UNESCO sites are at risk in the next two thousand years because of sea level rise; however, according to the authors, global warming will affects some monuments long before then.


The research team, which refers to recent studies published after the last IPCC report, believes that the panel underestimates the sea level rise expected in the next decades, and it claims that sea level won’t increase by 26 to 82 cm by 2100, but rather 70 cm to1.2 m by the end of the century and 2-3 metres by 2300.



According to researchers Ben Marzeion and Anders Levermann of all UNESCO sites one fifth of them are endangered; these include the Statue of Liberty, the London Tower, the Sidney Opera House, the Tower of Pisa and the Venetian Lagoon.

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