Greenland’s icy homage to UN climate talks

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson will bring 12 giant blocks of Greenland ice to Paris and let them melt ahead of the COP21 climate talks.

Greenland's icy homage to UN climate talks
Eliasson did a similar ice installation in Copenhagen last year. Photo: Anders Sune Berg
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.
“The ice we are going to put in Paris is a tenth of what melts in a second in the Greenland summer,” geologist Minik Thorleif Rosing said on Wednesday.
Thorleif is 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.
Eliasson and Rosing did an identical display in Copenhagen in October 2014 to coincide with the gathering of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The project, dubbed Ice Watch, was presented as “a physical wake-up call” about climate change.
Last week's attacks in Paris might force organisers to change the location or date of the pair's new 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 30th, is to forge a pact to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.
The meeting will try to negotiate a pact to keep global warming 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 air temperatures are melting it from above.
The Ice Watch display in Copenhagen last year. Click through for more photos. 

Photo: Anders Sune Berg

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