MILAN (AP) - Italian officials sounded an alarm Wednesday over climate change due to the threat that a fast-moving melting glacier is posing to a picturesque valley near the Alpine town of Courmayeur.
The glacier in question is the Planpincieux glacier, which is attached to the Grand Jorasses mountain.
Mayor Stefano Miserocchi has forbidden access to a section of the Val Ferret, outside of Courmayeur, a popular hiking area on the south side of the Mont Blanc massif, or mountain range.
A helicopter flies over a segment of the Planpincieux Glacier on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif area of Planpincieux, Aosta, Italy, on Wednesday.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte alerted world leaders to risk of the glacier's collapse during his address Tuesday to the U.N. General Assembly in NY, telling them "it is an alarm that we can not be indifferent to".
Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe that straddles France and Italy, is undergoing an unwelcome transformation.
The council of the town of Courmayeur has closed a highway due to the danger.
Miserocchi signed an order closing roads in Val Ferret after experts warned that the glacier's movement had accelerated 50-60cm per day.
"The glaciers of the Alps are dying", said Valentina Acordon, a meteorologist.
In a speech on climate change to the United Nations General Assembly in New York Tuesday, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte referred to the Mont Blanc warning.
"This is an alarm before which we can not be indifferent in the illusion that it doesn't regard me, you, that it is something far away in time or in space".
The warning comes as world leaders meet in NY for the United Nations climate action summit. "It must shake us all and force us to mobilise". "In this case, it's a temperate glacier particularly sensitive to high temperatures".
A examine by Swiss researchers launched earlier this month urged that the Aletsch glacier - the most important within the Alps - may disappear utterly by the tip of the century if nothing is completed to fight local weather change.
Tourism in the Alps makes around £48billion a year for region and supports 12 per cent of employment. Under a stronger global warming model, the researchers, based in Switzerland, projected that the Alps's glaciers would disappear nearly entirely by 2100.