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UN Secretary-General Guterres’s Visit to Antarctica Signals Urgent Call for Action Ahead of COP28 Climate Talks

by Joshua Brown
5 comments
Antarctica Climate Visit

As the COP28 climate discussions approach, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres embarked on a significant visit to the rapidly thawing Antarctic region this Thursday. During his visit, Guterres emphasized the urgent need for decisive measures at the upcoming conference, where nations will reevaluate and reinforce their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Guterres highlighted the alarmingly fast pace of ice melt in Antarctica, describing it as a critical concern. He remarked, “The Antarctic is emerging from its dormancy, and it’s time for the world to do the same.”

In a three-day official tour that includes both Antarctica and Chile, Guterres was accompanied by Chilean President Gabriel Boric to the Eduardo Frei Air Force Base on King George Island.

Additionally, Guterres planned to inspect the Collins and Nelson glaciers by boat.

At COP28, Guterres urged nations to establish a clear timeline for phasing out fossil fuels to prevent global temperatures from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. He advocated for a stronger commitment to renewable energy initiatives and enhancing the efficiency of current energy systems and technologies.

The melting of Antarctic ice, accelerated by rising air and ocean temperatures, has far-reaching implications for global climate regulation. The continent’s ability to reflect sunlight and influence major oceanic currents is pivotal in maintaining Earth’s climate balance.

Recent scientific attention has focused on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, a critical barometer of climate change. A report in Nature Climate Change last month indicated that certain regions of the ice sheet are now destined for irreversible melting, irrespective of global efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. Lead researcher Kaitlin Naughten estimated that melting in these vulnerable Antarctic zones could elevate global sea levels by approximately 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) over the coming centuries.

Another study featured in Science Advances last month revealed a significant reduction in nearly 50 Antarctic ice shelves since 1997, with 28 of them experiencing over 50% ice loss in this relatively brief period.


Reporting from Philadelphia by O’Malley.


Big Big News supports its climate and environmental reporting through various private foundations. Further details about AP’s climate initiative can be found here. The AP maintains full editorial independence in its content production.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Antarctica Climate Visit

Why did UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visit Antarctica?

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Antarctica to observe firsthand the rapid melting of ice and to underscore the urgency for decisive climate action ahead of the COP28 climate talks. His visit aimed to draw international attention to the impact of global warming on the Antarctic region and to motivate countries to strengthen their commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What did Guterres say about the situation in Antarctica?

Guterres described the acceleration of ice melt in Antarctica as “absolutely devastating” and a critical indicator of climate change. He emphasized the need for the world to “wake up” to the realities of climate change, mirroring the Antarctic’s shift from its long-standing dormancy.

What were the objectives of Guterres’s visit to the Eduardo Frei Air Force Base in Antarctica?

During his visit to the Eduardo Frei Air Force Base, joined by Chile’s President Gabriel Boric, Guterres aimed to highlight the importance of international collaboration in addressing climate change. This visit was part of his broader objective to encourage global leaders to take more robust and immediate actions against climate change at the upcoming COP28 conference.

What did the recent scientific studies say about the melting of Antarctic ice?

Recent studies, including one published in Nature Climate Change, have indicated that certain areas of the Antarctic ice sheet are now experiencing irreversible melting, regardless of global emission reduction efforts. This melting could potentially raise global sea levels by about 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) over the next few centuries. Another study in Science Advances highlighted that nearly 50 Antarctic ice shelves have significantly shrunk since 1997, with some losing more than half their ice.

What are the implications of the melting Antarctic ice for global climate?

The melting of Antarctic ice has significant implications for the global climate. The Antarctic plays a crucial role in regulating Earth’s climate by reflecting sunlight and influencing major ocean currents. The loss of ice from this region contributes to global sea-level rise and may lead to more severe climate change impacts worldwide.

More about Antarctica Climate Visit

  • Nature Climate Change Study on Antarctic Ice Melt
  • Science Advances Research on Antarctic Ice Shelves
  • United Nations Climate Change COP28 Information
  • Eduardo Frei Air Force Base in Antarctica
  • Global Sea Level Rise Projections

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5 comments

Mike87 November 24, 2023 - 7:09 am

really alarming to see antarctica melting like this we need to act now or its too late.

Reply
ClimateWarrior November 24, 2023 - 7:45 am

the studies are scary, ice melting can’t be stopped now? that’s just depressing.

Reply
SandraJ November 24, 2023 - 10:56 am

Guterres visit is important, shows the world leaders are paying attention, but what are they really doing about it?

Reply
GreenEarth November 24, 2023 - 7:12 pm

we need more than visits and talks, actual change is needed, what’s the point otherwise?

Reply
Paula_thinks November 24, 2023 - 11:08 pm

sea levels rising 1.8 meters? our coastal cities are at risk then, why isn’t this front page news everyday?

Reply

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