‘Act immediately,’ says UN chief on visit to frozen but rapidly melting Antarctica

UN chief
UNITED NATIONS, Nov 26 (APP): Ahead of the COP28 conference in Dubai, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says that while the frozen but rapidly melting Antarctica has been called the sleeping giant, the continent is now being awoken by the adverse impacts of climate change.
The UN chief is on a three-day official visit to Antarctica, which regulates the planet’s climate because its ice and cold waters drive major ocean currents. Chilean President Gabriel Boric joined him for an official visit to Chile´s Eduardo Frei Air Force Base on King George Island. He was also scheduled to visit the Collins and Nelson glaciers by boat.
“Fossil fuel pollution is heating our planet, unleashing climate anarchy in Antarctica,” said Guterres, adding that the Southern Ocean has taken the majority of the heat from global warming.
“That means ice is melting into the ocean at record rates. Melting ice means sea levels are rising at record rates,” he explained.
“That directly endangers the lives and livelihoods of people in coastal communities across the globe. It means homes are no longer insurable. And it threatens the very existence of some small island states.”
Antarctic sea ice is at an all-time low. New figures show that this September, it was 1.5 million square kilometers smaller than the average for the time of year—”an”area roughly the size of Portugal, Spain, France, and Germany combined.”
Guterres noted that the Greenland ice sheet is also melting fast, losing over 250 gigatons of ice every year.
“All of this spells catastrophe around the world. What happens in Antarctica doesn’t stay in Antarctica. And what happens thousands of miles away has a direct impact right here,” he said.
The Secretary-General appealed for world leaders attending the COP28 climate change conference in Dubai next week to act now to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
He also urged them to protect people from climate chaos and end the fossil fuel age, saying “we must not let all hopes for a sustainable planet melt away.’
The UN chief was set to visit the Professor Julio Escudero research base on Saturday, where he will be briefed by scientists.
APP Services