UCL News


UCL in the News: "Monumental" Climate Change?

19 June 2007

The stress that climate change can have on people is beginning to be felt.

But a new international study has warned that there may be other victims as well. …

From the rising waters of Venice to the ancient temples of Greece to the archaeological grandeur of Rome, and to the more modern wonders, global warming may hasten the destruction of some of the world's most treasured buildings and heritage sites.

"The building is that canary in the mine that we can see and appreciate in terms of the change," said study author Professor May Cassar [UCL Centre for Sustainable Heritage].

And the canary is beginning to look decidedly ill. …

The point of the new study is that climate change may not only threaten our future, it may also threaten some of the most inspiring and important touchstones of our past. We may have to choose which of these monuments we try to preserve and which we allow to crumble and be lost forever.

"The notion that we can save everything for all time is, I think, one that we have to seriously think about because it's unrealistic - we cannot," Cassar said.

The message: See them now, because within 50 to 100 years, treasures that have lasted for centuries may look very different, or not be there at all.

Mark Phillips, 'CBS Evening News'