“Protect our priceless cultural sites from coal and climate change. Issue a statement calling for a stop to all fossil fuel development that threatens World Heritage Sites, and demanding governments comply with the Paris Agreement.”
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In Australia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Turkey and more, coal and climate change pose an immediate threat to some of the world’s greatest natural and cultural places. But UNESCO, the international body responsible for protecting these places, has gone silent.
We call on the UNESCO World Heritage Committee to demand that governments comply with the Paris Agreement and stop coal and other fossil fuel developments that are fuelling climate change and destroying World Heritage sites around the globe.
Many civilisation heritage sites are threatened by coal development in Turkey. Among these are the Hecate temple in Lagina (Yatağan), the ancient port city of Kyme, the Byzantine fortress of Pegae, and the Ilgın – Çavuşçugöl natural reserve. Many more could be threatened if Turkey pursues it’s plan to build even more coal plants.
Up to 50% of the Great Barrier Reef may be dead already thanks to warming oceans. UNESCO has acknowledged the threat once before in a issued a report which was later removed after objections from the Australian government — a clear sign that the government’s coal addiction is speaking louder than scientific consensus.
In Bangladesh, the government is building a 1320 Megawatt coal plant in the Sundarbans forest — a UNESCO heritage site and home of the endangered Royal Bengal tiger and gangetic dolphins.
The Kenyan government has proposed to build a $ 2 billion coal-fired power plant in Lamu county, along with a port and a transport corridor (linking Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, and South Sudan).
Lamu Islands is a UNESCO World heritage site, and extremely rich in both ecological and cultural diversity. The area is endowed with various plant and animal species on the mainland, in addition to being home to East Africa’s richest marine ecology which attracts thousands of tourists annually.