UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon went to see first-hand the effects of climate change on Greenland’s “majestic” environment, which he said is threatening the livelihood of local communities.
The UN chief met with the premier of Greenland, Aleqa Hammond and visited the Arctic town of Uummannaq.
He said he was “overwhelmed by the majestic beauty” of Greenland’s iced environment but that at the same time he was concerned about the fast pace at which glaciers and ice caps were changing, increasing sea levels and threatening the ecosystem and the people that depend on it.
“I am committed that we must do something for these people who have been living here for thousands and thousands of years, harmoniously living with nature. Their nature, their livelihood, job opportunities – they’re very much threatened”, he said.
Ban added that he would push for a global, legal climate change agreement at next the climate change summit.
“That is the only way which we can save this one, only, planet Earth so that all our coming generations live without any fear. They can live in an environmentally sustainable world. That is our common responsibility”, Ban said.
“And I thank the people of Greenland for their wisdom, living with nature. That is the message I am going to send to world leaders.”
Last July, Greenland experienced its highest temperatures since records began – 25.9C. Scientists had previously argued that by the end of the century, much of the regions surface, currently covered by ice could instead have lush forests because of temperature increase. This would have disastrous effects on plants and animals, as well as on sea levels.