European Environment Agency photographic exhibition

Date released: Jun 26 2008

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.

ENDS

Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)

Notes to the Editor:

The EEA
The European Environment Agency is a European Union body set up to provide independent, reliable and comparable environmental information for decision-makers and the public. The EEA information aims to help the European Community and Agency member countries make informed decisions on improving the environment and move towards sustainability.  See www.eea.europa.eu for further information.

John McConnico
John McConnico is a veteran Associated Press journalist.  He has been awarded the Pulitzer prize and two world press awards, amongst many other accolades.  Visit http://johnmcconnico.com/ for further information.

The EPA
The EPA is a statutory body responsible for protecting the environment in Ireland.  We regulate and police activities that might otherwise cause pollution.  We ensure there is solid information on environmental trends so that necessary actions are taken.  Our priorities are protecting the environment and ensuring that development is sustainable.  See www.epa.ie for further information.