Roads closed in northern Italy as experts warn giant glacier on Mont Blanc could collapse

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“Precautions are being taken but that doesn’t mean we are expecting apocalyptic scenarios,” said Raffaele Rocco, a regional official.

“No scientific model can say if and when there could be a collapse. We can only predict the areas that would be affected.”

Glaciers in the Alps are fragmenting as a result of global warming. In Italy, there were 824 glaciers in the 1960s, whereas now there are 903.

Environmentalists have warned that within 20 to 30 years, glaciers lying beneath 3,500m could disappear altogether.

“The glaciers of the Alps are dying,” said Valentina Acordon, a meteorologist. “But the damage is not irreversible – a drastic reduction of greenhouse gases in the next few years would enable us to avoid the worst scenarios.”

Angelo Bonelli, national coordinator of Italy’s Green Party, said: “This is an unequivocal sign that we are suffering not only very serious environmental but also social consequences, which unfortunately governments are ignoring.”

Forecasters said that snow could fall on the Mont Blanc massif on Wednesday night, which could temporarily reduce the risk of the glacier collapsing.

At the weekend, dozens of people took part in a “funeral march” to mark the disappearance of a glacier in Switzerland.

The Pizol glacier in the Glarus Alps of eastern Switzerland has lost 80-90% of its volume since 2006.



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