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June 27th, 2008
European Environment Agency Photographic Exhibition

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PR – Changing Climate, Changing People, a European Environment
Agency (EEA) photographic exhibition presenting images of climate
change in Greenland, will be on display in Ireland until 11 July
2007.   The exhibition is currently being housed in the Office of
Public Works, 51 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2 and all are welcome to
attend.


Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist John McConnico visited
Greenland in 2007 to document the effects of climate change on the
breathtaking Arctic scenery.  On June 21st that year temperatures
reached 22 degrees Celsius, the highest on record. The photographs tell
their own story, with the ice showing the scars of the summer melt.

Larry Stapleton, EPA Director, Office of Environmental Assessment (and alternate member of the EEA Management Board) said:
“As
the national focal point in Ireland, the EPA works closely with the EEA
and we are delighted to support them in bringing this important
exhibition to Ireland.  This is a unique opportunity to see a first
hand record of the impacts of climate change, through the work of this
renowned photographer”.

Mr. John Gormley, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Heritage and
Local Government, who also welcomes the exhibition, said that tackling
climate change is a key priority for the Government. 
He said “I
think we are all aware that climate change is the biggest single
challenge of our time. It is real and it is not going away.  It will
touch the lives of every man, woman and child in this country.  I
encourage people to attend this excellent exhibition”.

Effects of climate change on the Arctic
Global
climate change is expected to have its most pronounced effects in the
Arctic region. Impacts are becoming evident in this region sooner than
in other parts of the planet. Sea-ice has decreased by approximately
10% in summer and 3 % in winter per decade over the last 25 years. 

The summer of 2007 witnessed the most dramatic sea ice retreat since
systematic monitoring started.  Shattering previous records, the sea
ice shrank 1 ½ million square km more that summer than the climatic
average for 1979 – 2000.  The melting has been much faster than what
was predicted by climate models.  It is likely that the sea ice will
disappear in the end of the melt season within a few decades.

Reduced polar ice will further speed up global warming.  It also
threatens species that are specialised for life in the ice such as
seals and polar bears.

“These powerful photographs remind us of the beauty and fragility of
our natural environment and, more importantly, its central role in our
day to day lives”, said Mr Stapleton.

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