A glacier in far-away Antarctica has been formally named Glasgow Glacier in honour of this Scottish city hosting the high-level UN climate summit which formally opened here on Sunday, kicking off two weeks of intense diplomatic talks on curbing global warming.
The 100-km long body of ice, which has been experiencing rapid melting, was formally named by researchers at the University of Leeds to mark the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a stark reminder of why such an urgent action is needed.
“Glasgow represents our best chance. Just as the G-20 shares a collective responsibility to act, so the solutions are in our hands. I hope countries will gather next week in a spirit of responsibility and ambition so we can keep the goal of 1.5 degrees alive,” Johnson asserted.
Besides Glasgow, the eight newly named glaciers are Geneva, Rio, Berlin, Kyoto, Bali, Stockholm, Paris and Incheon – all named after cities hosting important UN climate meetings.
PhD Researcher Heather Selley, from Leeds’ School of Earth and Environment, has identified 14 glaciers in the Getz Basin of West Antarctica that are thinning by an average of 25 per cent between 1994 and 2018 due to climate change.
Her study, published in February 2021, found that 315 gigatonnes of ice were lost from the region in the last 25 years.
In essence, this is equivalent to 126 million Olympic-sized swimming pools of water.
Selley and Dr Anna Hogg had requested that the nine unnamed glaciers in the study be named after locations of major climate treaties, reports and conferences, the most recent being the one named after the Glasgow summit.
Her proposal was submitted by the UK government and supported by the UK Antarctic Place-names committee.
The names will now be added to the International Composite Gazetteer for Antarctica, for the use on maps, charts and future publications.
“Naming the glaciers after the locations of major climate treaties, conferences and reports is a great way to celebrate the international collaboration on climate change science and policy over the last 42 years,” Selly explained.
“We wanted to permanently mark the outstanding effort the scientific community has put into measuring the present-day impact of climate change and its predicted future evolution,” she said.
Dramatic changes in ice cover and images of Antarctica have become synonymous with climate change.
Over the past 40 years, satellites have observed huge iceberg calving events, changes in the flow of glaciers and rapidly thinning ice demonstrating the devastating impact of global warming.
Downing Street said the UK’s message at the G-20 Summit in Rome on Sunday will be to highlight how 50 years ago the UK derived around 80 per cent of its electricity from burning coal, and nine years ago that number was nearly down to 40 per cent and today it is below 2 per cent.
The UK plans to phase out the use of coal in power generation completely by 2024.
Johnson is calling on the world’s richest economies to do everything they can to reach Net Zero carbon emissions domestically by 2050, while helping developing countries transition to clean energy by halting, reversing deforestation and land degradation by 2030.