Greenland's icy homage to UN climate change conference

A boat skims through the melting ice in the Ilulissat fjord on the western coast of Greenland
A boat skims through the melting ice in the Ilulissat fjord on the western coast of Greenland

A mass of ice harvested from Greenland is on its way to Paris where it will be installed on the Place de la Republique to mark the UN Climate Change Conference, organisers said Wednesday.

"The we are going to put in Paris is a tenth of what melts in a second in the Greenland summer," said Minik Thorleif Rosing, a geologist assisting the Danish-Icelandic artist behind the project, Olafur Eliasson.

Twelve immense blocks of ice, weighing about 10 tonnes each, were taken from free-floating icebergs in a fjord outside Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. They were then shipped to Aalborg in Denmark and later this month they will be trucked to France.

When the ice blocks arrive in Paris they will be arranged in the form of a clock on the square, where they will melt away during the conference.

Last week's attacks in Paris might force organisers to change the location or date of the event, intended as a memorial to the Arctic, but they were not expecting it to be cancelled.

"This is a way to make the data real, to make the facts emotionally potent," Rosing said.

The goal of the climate summit in the French capital, which begins on November 30, is to forge a pact to reduce the that are blamed for global warming.

The meeting will try to negotiate a pact to keep below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels. Scientists warn that unless drastic action is taken quickly, warming temperatures will lead to rising sea levels and natural catastrophes that threaten mankind.

By 2100, the world's oceans would climb by 26-82 centimetres (10-32 inches) over the levels seen between 1986-2005, the UN's climate science panel reported earlier this month.

Driving the rise are ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica that are melting faster than ever, and oceans that are warming as well as expanding much more rapidly.

In Greenland, warmer ocean water is eroding glaciers from below, and increasing are melting it from above.


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© 2015 AFP

Citation: Greenland's icy homage to UN climate change conference (2015, November 18) retrieved 26 October 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2015-11-greenland-icy-homage-climate-conference.html
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