Park in Peru creates climate change route to teach about melting glacier

World Today

Peru, the host country for this year’s United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has one of the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in the Americas. But scientists said it is among countries which will be most impacted by climate hazards. To educate the public, one park has created a climate change route for tourists. CCTV America’s Dan Collyns reported this story from Lima, Peru.

Park in Peru creates climate change route to teach about melting glacier

Peru, the host country for this year's United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has one of the lowest carbon dioxide emissions in the Americas. But scientists said it is among countries which will be most impacted by climate hazards. To educate the public, one park has created a climate change route for tourists.

The country is home to 70 percent of the world’s tropical glaciers located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, but recent research indicates almost half their ice mass has melted away.

After taking thousands of years to form, scientists said the Pastoruri glacier in Huascaran Park is on pace to disappear in as little as 10 years. Researchers say half of it, or 52.12 percent, has melted in the last 18 years.

“Many tourists used to come and head up the glacier. They even used to ski on it and have fun playing in the snow. By contrast nowadays they don’t come in such big numbers and they can’t climb it because it’s melted by more than 50 percent,” said Lenin Rafael, a local tour guide.

As the ice has shrunk, so has the number of tourists dwindling to around a third of the 100,000 or so annual visitors in the 1990s.

“This was all caused by man’s actions. It’s tragic how we are destroying such wonderful scenery. Before we could access this whole area now we can’t enter because of the danger from falling ice,” said a local student Evelyn Principe.

Glaciers have always been a crucial water source in Peru. The park has created a climate change route to educate visitors, said Huascaran Park guide Selwyn Valverde.

“I hope that with all the work we’ve done to create a climate change route it will continue to improve and become a way of learning about climate change even after the ice disappears,” Valverde said.

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CCTV America interviewed Nicole Oliveira, the Latin America Coordinator for the nonprofit 350.org about the impact of climate change.