Arctic ministers urge swift action to halt melting of glaciers

13 Mar 2019, 23:38

  DF-Xinhua Report

Photo taken on March 11, 2019 shows the opening ceremony of the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya.(Xinhua/Li Yan).

Environment ministers from countries that share the arctic region including Norway, Iceland and Finland on Wednesday urged concerted efforts to halt melting of glaciers.
   
The ministers who spoke during the launch of a report called "Global Linkages-A graphic look at the changing arctic" on the sidelines of the ongoing UN Environment Assembly, noted that melting glaciers, pollution and habitat loss have changed the face of the northern polar region.
   
"Global efforts are required to limit thawing of glaciers in the arctic region due to climate change hence contributing to unprecedented sea-level rise," said Guðmundur Ingi Guðbrandsson, Iceland's minister for environment and natural resources.
   
Guðbrandsson said the report developed by UN Environment Programme and Norwegian foundation GRID-Arendal, should serve as a wake-up call for governments and corporations to act on ecological degradation that has escalated in the North Pole.
   
"We are called upon to strengthen regional and global collaboration aimed at mitigating climate change, pollution and loss of biodiversity in the arctic region," said Guðbrandsson.
   
Kimmo Tiilikainen, Finland's minister for environment, energy and housing said thawing of permafrost in the arctic region that is linked to global warming is likely to have negative implications across the globe.
   
"The permafrost hosts double the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and its destruction will undermine efforts to promote climate resilience in the world," said Tiilikainen.
   
He warned that diminishing ice caps in the arctic will aggravate extreme weather events in the tropics where the bulk of the global population live.
   
The arctic region is grappling with pollution linked to haphazard disposal of plastics, heavy metals and industrial chemicals.
   
Haege Andenaes, director general of Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment said that fishing gear and other synthetic debris that has accumulated in the arctic region is a threat to survival of rare species.
   
"The loss of species in the arctic region has escalated due to human activities and rising atmospheric temperatures. Preserving biodiversity in the arctic will boost climate resilience and human health," Andenaes remarked.