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UK Minister witnesses climate change in Greenland

Department for The Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (National)

The Greenland Dialogue: Minister Attends Key Talks On Climate Change And Visits The Greenland Ice-Cap

Climate change and Environment Minister Elliot Morley has witnessed growing evidence of how man-made climate change is affecting Greenland's ice-cap.

It followed three days of informal Ministerial discussions with more than 20 countries, including European partners, the United States, Canada, China, Brazil and South Africa on measures that need to be taken to combat climate change.

The Greenland Dialogue on Climate Change, hosted by the Danish government, looked at four main areas:

* The Climate challenge - looking at what the science says about climate change, the possible impacts and the risks of inaction, looking at particular at the Arctic crisis.

* Adaptation, mitigation and development - focusing on meeting the causes, implications and responses in the wider sustainable development agenda, as well as looking at economic growth and the role of technology transfer.

* Possibilities for and challenges of future international climate change cooperation - examining the obstacles that will need to be overcome in deciding on future action.

* The way forward - how to ensure continuation of a high-level informal dialogue.

Following the Dialogue, Ministers toured by helicopter Greenland's ice-cap. Latest satellite data shows that the Arctic Sea ice shrunk to a record low for the month of June.

Defra-funded research, carried out by the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, recently found that man-made greenhouse gases are probably causing increasing river flows into the Arctic Ocean, which are already having a knock-on effect on rainfall patterns across the world.

Mr Morley said: "Here in Greenland, Ministers have come face to face with the visible evidence of the scale and urgency of the climate change challenge. It gave added impetus to our talks and reinforced our commitment to strengthening action to tackle climate change - in particular to the Kyoto Protocol, when we meet in Montreal later this year."

Mr Morley said the talks had built upon the consensus achieved by the Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change science conference which took place at the Met Office in Exeter in February, the Energy and Environment Ministerial roundtable, which was held in London in March to look at developing low-carbon economies across the globe, and the recent Gleneagles Summit, where a Plan of Action was agreed.

They had also built on the progress made at the Bonn seminar of Government representatives in May, which was tasked with looking at the way forward after the first commitments under the Kyoto Protocol end in 2012.

"The UK has done much during the G8 Presidency to stimulate and open up international discussions on the future of climate change. I am delighted that the Danish government has brought Ministers together to look at building on the objectives and principles laid down in the UNFCCC and the experience acquired in negotiating and implementing the Kyoto Protocol.

"And I am particularly pleased that developing countries such as China, Brazil and South Africa have been present here, as well as the United States, to help build the momentum in terms of preparing the way for negotiations on a future regime at the UN Conference of the Parties and 1st meeting of the Kyoto Protocol parties in Montreal in December."

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