Press release | Date: 2015-07-06 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
A peninsula that has become an island as glaciers melt, the impacts of climate change on life in the sea, and reduced sea ice cover are among the direct consequences of global warming that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will see at close hand when he visits Svalbard with Foreign Minister Børge Brende on 7–8 July.
This will be Mr Ban’s last major visit in preparation for the decisive Climate Conference in Paris in December.
Mr Ban and Mr Brende will see the effects of climate change at close hand as they sail with the research vessel RV Lance from Longyearbyen to Ny-Ålesund and into Kongsfjorden.
‘Nowhere else in the world can we see the effects of climate change so clearly as in the Arctic. Visiting Svalbard makes it easier to appreciate how serious climate change is, and the fact that the UN Secretary-General is visiting Svalbard with this in view sends a clear signal of how important it is to reach an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in December,’ Mr Brende pointed out. Norway’s Foreign Minister will host the Secretary-General during the course of an eventful 24 hours in Svalbard.
‘Individuals, communities and ecosystems all over the world are being affected by climate change. Unless we cut emissions of greenhouse gases, the world will face serious, irreversible effects,’ said Mr Brende.
The Arctic is warming much more rapidly than the rest of the world. The summer sea ice cover has decreased by 14 % a year since measurements started in 1979.
Mr Ban and Mr Brende will meet the world’s youngest polar explorers, the Norwegian 13-year olds Johannes Breivik and Erika Gjelsvik, who will present the climate project they are taking part in. They hope to go the climate conference in Paris to talk about the climate challenges their generation will inherit if the politicians of today fail to reach an agreement.
Press contact: Ane Haavardsdatter Lunde, +47 976 71 250 (accompanying Mr Ban and Mr Brende on the trip).