Photo: Arild Lyssand.Photo: Arild Lyssand

From Svalbard to Alaska: Foreign Minister Brende travels to Obama’s climate conference

Foreign Minister Børge Brende brings with him fresh impressions from the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard to President Obama’s climate conference GLACIER, which opens on August 30th in Anchorage, Alaska.

The conference aims to mobilize international support for an ambitious global climate agreement at the UN summit in Paris this December. 

-          The effects of climate change are more apparent in the Arctic than anywhere else in the world. Broad political commitment will be necessary to secure a robust and sustainable climate agreement in Paris. I will bring my impressions from Svalbard with me into the discussions in Alaska and further into the process leading up the Paris-summit, Foreign Minister Brende says. 

The Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER, is an important step towards a global climate agreement, and both President Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry will play an active role in Anchorage. The conference brings together Foreign Ministers of Arctic nations and key non-Arctic states with scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from Alaska and the Arctic as well as representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples. Norway is a leading polar nation, and has much to contribute with, from climate and resource management to security and emergency preparedness. 

The United States has deliberately chosen to situate this conference in Alaska because the Arctic illustrates the effects of climate change so clearly. The effects of climate change are accelerating faster in the Arctic than any other part of the globe. Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as the global average, snow cover is decreasing in scope and the permafrost is melting. Without rapid emission reductions the Arctic Ocean will be ice-free within the summer of 2050.

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