Easter Island, or Hanga Roa as it's called in the local indigenous language, is the most remote inhabited island on the planet. Carved from solid basalt between the 13th and 16th centuries, the group of more than 800 massive stone monuments known as moai that are scattered across the volcanic landscape are the legacy of a Polynesian society who settled here around 300 AD.
Tourism Chile
Easter Island, or Hanga Roa as it's called in the local indigenous language, is the most remote inhabited island on the planet. Carved from solid basalt between the 13th and 16th centuries, the group of more than 800 massive stone monuments known as moai that are scattered across the volcanic landscape are the legacy of a Polynesian society who settled here around 300 AD.
Now playing
01:46
How climate change is changing lives
CNN
Now playing
03:29
Meet teen climate activist Greta Thunberg
Shutterstock
Now playing
01:13
What you can actually do to slow the climate crisis
Now playing
02:30
The Road to Change: America's Climate Crisis
Now playing
03:18
Climate crisis in Alaska is impacting the entire world
climate change 97 percent consensus orig_00005513.jpg
climate change 97 percent consensus orig_00005513.jpg
Now playing
02:29
Scientists agree: Climate change is man-made
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
03:28
See how candidates stood out in 7 hours of climate talk
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:51
Warren: Where Trump is right now is a nightmare
CNN
Now playing
02:41
Biden: Military warned us of climate crisis danger
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:46
Sanders: Trump's stance on climate change is idiotic
CNN
Now playing
02:03
Harris on Trump: Lead or get out of the way
CNN
Now playing
00:56
Yang: You know what's expensive? Poisoning our kids
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:54
O'Rourke: We need to support the people of Puerto Rico
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg participates in CNN's climate crisis town hall in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
01:25
Pete Buttigieg: I would ask Trump to step aside
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Edward M. Pio Roda/CNN
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren participates in a climate crisis town hall hosted by CNN in New York on September 4, 2019.
Now playing
02:25
Warren: This is what fossil fuel wants us talking about
julian castro 9.4
CNN
julian castro 9.4
Now playing
03:23
Student calls out Julian Castro's record on fracking

Story highlights

Report highlights 31 World Heritage Sites

Statue of Liberty also at risk from climate change

CNN —  

Higher waves caused by a warming planet are chipping away at platforms that have supported some of the famous statues on Easter Island for more than 500 years, according to a United Nations report on cultural heritage sites and climate change.

“Some Easter Island statues are at risk of being lost to the sea because of coastal erosion,” said Adam Markham, deputy director of the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists and lead author of the report, which examined the potential damage climate change can have on 31 of the world’s more than 1,000 heritage properties.

“Climate change is affecting World Heritage sites across the globe,” Markham said.

The report, “World Heritage and Tourism in a Changing Climate,” highlights the dangers of climate change to iconic sites including the canals of Venice, which are threatened by rising sea levels, and Yellowstone National Park, where shorter winters and reduced snowfall have affected the park’s water supply.

The detailed research grew out of the Paris climate summit in December, where 195 countries agreed to reduce greenhouse gases to keep average global temperatures from rising by 2-degrees Celsius. Doing so will combat sea level rise, habitat loss and extreme weather events, experts say.

Statue of Liberty at risk

Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty also are threatened by sea level rise, more intense storms and storm surges, according to the report. When Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast in October 2012, three-quarters of Ellis Island flooded, causing more than $77 million dollars in damage.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The National Park Service said the Statue of Liberty itself is threatened by climate change and the cost of “future damage to this international symbol of freedom and democracy is incalculable.”

The report calls for more resources to secure World Heritage properties threatened by climate change and highlights the losses to the tourism industry, should the sites fall victim to a warming planet.