Speech/statement | Date: 2015-12-06 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Minister Børge Brende's address at the "Seeing is Believing" - a side event at the COP21 on Arctic - with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Segolene Royal and four youths from the Lance expedition.
Secretary-General, Foreign Minister, young explorers,
ladies and gentlemen.
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising 2–3 times faster than the global average.
The consequences are dramatic.
During our trips to Svalbard we have witnessed this with our own eyes.
We have seen the glaciers receding.
The snow melting at record pace.
The sea ice vanishing rapidly.
Let’s be clear: The melting of the Arctic snow and ice is a threat to far more than traditional livelihoods and polar bears.
The Arctic is the cooling system of the planet.
It holds back seven metres of potential sea-level rise in its ice caps.
The Arctic permafrost holds vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane that will be released when it thaws.
In other words, Arctic warming is amplifying and accelerating the global warming that is causing unprecedented damage to our planet.
When it comes to climate change, the Arctic is our ‘canary in the mine’.
The changes we see in the Arctic impel us to act.
The time to act is now.
Because climate change is no longer something only our grandchildren will have to worry about.
It is happening. Here and now.
As foreign minister, I have to deal with the consequences of climate change every day.
It is already having wide-reaching implications for top priority foreign policy areas such as trade, mass migration, humanitarian assistance, conflict prevention and security.
Climate change has been described as the ultimate threat multiplier. We must deal with it for what it is – a major global security threat.
Only when world leaders fully understand that climate change is a question of national and global security will we take the necessary measures.
Faced with a challenge of this magnitude, we must make use of all available tools.
Most urgently, we must – this week here in Paris – agree to an ambitious and forward-looking global climate agreement.
For those who have been there, the Arctic is more than a place.
It is an inspiration.
Let the Arctic inspire us – together with the voices of the young scientists with us here today – to do what it takes to stop global warming.
For the sake of our own security.
For the sake of future generations.