United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres will travel to Antarctica this week with Chilean president Gabriel Boric to observe the impact of rising temperatures caused by climate crisis on the continent.
“Scorching temperatures mean Antarctic ice is melting ever-faster, with deadly consequences for people around the world,” Mr Guterres told reporters.
The two are set to see the Collins and Nelson Glaciers, as well as a stop to see the penguins and other native species at Kopaitic Island, according to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.
Mr Guterres will speak on his experience during UN climate summit Cop28 in Dubai next week, where he will “call for action that matches the scale of the crisis we face,” he said.
World leaders will convene for the annual conference with the aim of keeping the Paris Agreement warming target of 1.5C alive.
As they stand, countries’ emissions pledges would still put the world on track to warm by nearly 3 degrees Celsius this century, according to a UN analysis released on Monday.
Mr Boric travelled to Antarctica previously this year, and has invited other leaders such as Chinese president Xi Jinping to do the same. He shot back last week at opposition criticism for the emissions put out by traveling to the continent by plane.
“I’ll propose to the secretary general of the UN that we row our way there in a canoe, instead of travelling with the Chilean Air Force, so people like you don’t have to go through this hard time,” he said to one critic on social media platform X.
Sea ice that covers the ocean around Antarctica hit a record low surface area this winter, a preliminary analysis of US satellite showed.
Another research from the British Antarctic Survey, the UK’s polar research institute, found that accelerated melting in the Antarctic this century is inevitable, regardless of drastic emissions cuts.