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Africa To Antarctica

9 February 2001 Media Statement

AFRICA TO ANTARCTICA

The Minister for the Environment Marian Hobbs has participated in a teleconference call from the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, to yachtsman/adventurer Sir Peter Blake in Antarctica.

With the UNEP's Executive Director, Klaus Toepfer they discussed the impact of global warming on Antarctica which Marian Hobbs visited at the end of January.

Sir Peter is heading a five-year schedule of expeditions to areas that are key to the earth's ecosystems raising public awareness of the threats facing the environment because of human activity.

Sir Peter said he was in an area of Antarctica that normally was solid ice at this time of the year.

Mr Toepfer said recent reports from the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change had confirmed a spectacular retreat and collapse of ice shelves in the Antarctic Peninsula and that global warming over the next century is likely to be between 1.4 and 5.8 degrees Celsius.

Marian Hobbs is attending the UNEP's 21st governing council meeting and the second Global Ministerial Environment Forum. Issues include the protection of vulnerable populations from the impact of climate related natural disasters, the need to strengthen environmental laws in emerging economies and the impact of globalisation on indigenous cultures.

Ms Hobbs has also held bilateral discussions with many Ministers on climate change and the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol.

ENDS

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