News story | Date: 07/12/2015
‘Temperatures in the Arctic are rising two to three times faster than the global average. This will have dramatic consequences. The rapid pace of climate change in the Arctic is a warning of what will happen in the rest of the world unless we reach an ambitious climate agreement in Paris,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
At the climate summit in Paris, Norway hosted a side event called Seeing is believing – believing demands action: A message from the Arctic. Among the participants were Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal, Jan-Gunnar Winther, director of the Norwegian Polar Institute, and young explorers from a Norwegian television series entitled ‘Mission Arctic’, who have completed a skiing expedition to the North Pole.
‘We are here to speak on behalf of all the children of the world. We are the future. Promise us that you will put children first,’ was the young explorers’ message.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon praised Norway for its efforts in addressing climate change. He made it clear that his two visits to Svalbard have made a deep impression on him and have added a sense of urgency to the climate negotiations.
‘The melting of the Arctic ice will affect every part of the world. The ice in the Arctic cools our planet. If the ice caps melt, the sea level will rise by seven metres. And the Arctic permafrost traps huge amounts of CO2 and methane, which will be released if it thaws. Rising temperatures in the Arctic will accelerate global warming and have an enormous impact on trade, migration, humanitarian crises, armed conflicts and global security. It is crucial that we act now,’ said Mr Brende.
In the second part of the event, Jan-Gunnar Winther and Harald Steen from the Norwegian Polar Institute were joined by Christine Provost from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) in presenting the research project Norwegian Young Sea Ice Cruise (N-ICE) and an Arctic expedition with the research vessel Lance.