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Melting Point

No, it's not a Christo art installation. It's a Swiss Alpine glacier wrapped in 27,000 square feet of reflective sheeting—an attempt to prevent thousands of pounds of ice from melting. The Gurschen glacier, at the Gemsstock ski resort near Andermatt in the Uri canton, has shrunk by 65 feet in the past 15 years. Indeed, according to scientists, it may be in danger of disappearing altogether—along with many other glaciers in Switzerland, Austria, and Italy that have been exposed to Europe's increasingly hotter summers and disturbingly mild winters. The obvious culprit, experts say, is global warming. This summer, Gemsstock decided to fight back, covering its ice cap with insulating fleece designed to reflect sunlight and prevent further erosion. Of course, this approach doesn't exactly address the larger issue. As Martin Hiller of the World Wildlife Fund's Climate Change Program in Switzerland helpfully explains: "The solution is to stop emitting greenhouse gases."

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