Sometimes it's brutally obvious that immediate action is needed, as in saving 125 historic world heritage sites at risk from climate change. So it beggars belief that UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC) is failing to adequately protect these sites, even when possible solutions are presented.
Meeting in Vilnius, Lithunia this week, the WHC has already rejected plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Further, the WHC has dismissed scientists' recommendations about environmental guidelines for assessing sites in potential danger, due to climate change.
Environmental groups say the WHC is concerned more about politics than about protecting natural and manmade sites including Mount Everest, Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the Tower of London. Several groups have lodged petitions with UNESCO urging action to combat problems created by greenhouse gas emissions.
The sites most in danger include the Belize Barrier Reef, Huascaran National Park in Peru, the Sagarmatha National Park in the Himalayas and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park on the United States/Canada border. Coral, glaciers and wildlife in these areas are threatened by rising temperatures and ocean acidification.