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Britain’s Cherished Landmarks Under Threat From Climate Change

Jeremy Hodges

(Bloomberg) -- Climate change doesn’t care about history and is already claiming Roman and medieval settlements around the British coastline.

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion are threatening the world heritage status of the Orkney Islands off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Extreme weather and a warming climate has wiped away 600 meters (2,000 feet) of coastline from a 14th-century center for shipbuilding and trade on the east coast of England, according to research from the University of Sheffield.

The study comes days after a report from United Nations scientists that warned that rapidly rising seas will change how humans live -- and where -- forever. Coastal regions are being inundated by rising sea levels caused by melting glaciers and disappearing Arctic sea ice, and it’s set to worsen.

Read here for more on how pressure for climate action is intensifying

The last week has seen millions of people from around the world take to the streets to demand urgent climate action while world leaders gathered at the UN to promise increased ambition on global warming.

Sheffield University’s archaeology points to military remains from World War II at the Dysynni Valley in Wales that’s at threat from flooding and coastal erosion. It’s not just the physical landscape that will change but the area will lose its heritage and historic character, the study said.

“Landscapes are hugely important to cultural heritage not just in the U.K. but in every country around the world,” said Isabel Cook, a doctorate student at Sheffield who conducted the research. “This makes landscapes extremely important for cultural identity, so we need to be aware of the very real threat they are facing from the effects of climate change.”

Previous studies have shown that some of Britain’s famous landmarks that tourists flock to year round such as Dover Castle and Pevensey Castle have been affected by climate change.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy Hodges in London at jhodges17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Andrew Reierson

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