A new installation by Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson featuring huge blocks of ice shipped from Greenland to London is set to highlight the devastating impact of climate change when it goes on display next week.

Ice Watch will feature 24 blocks arranged in a circular pattern on Bankside outside Tate Modern, where an exhibition of Eliasson’s work will open next year. A further six blocks will go on display in the heart of the City of London, outside Bloomberg’s European headquarters.

The ice was taken out of the waters of the Nuup Kangerlua fjord in Greenland where they were melting after having been lost from the area’s ice sheet. Opening on 11 December, the installation coincides with the meeting of world leaders at the COP24 climate change conference in Katowice, Poland.

Explaining the urgent need for the work, Eliasson said: “It is clear that we have only a short period of time to limit the extreme effects of climate change. By enabling people to experience and actually touch the blocks of ice in this project, I hope we will connect people to their surroundings in a deeper way and inspire radical change.

“We must recognise that together we have the power to take individual actions and to push for systemic change. Let’s transform climate knowledge into climate action.”

Michael R. Bloomberg, UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies, added: “Ice Watch vividly captures the urgency of tackling climate change. We hope Eliasson’s work of art will inspire bolder and more ambitious actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by governments, businesses, and communities.”

The installation follows a landmark report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on 8 October, which warned that we have only 12 years to limit the worst effects of climate change.

Geologist Minik Rosing explained: “Since 2015, the melting of ice in Greenland has raised global sea level by 2.5 mm. Since the discovery of the greenhouse effect in 1896, global temperatures have increased more than one degree Celsius. Earth is changing at an ever-increasing speed.

“Science and technology have made it possible for us to destabilise Earth’s climate, but now that we understand the mechanisms behind these changes, we have the power to prevent them from growing.”

Ice Watch isn’t Eliasson’s first project promoting climate change awareness and sustainable energy. In 2015, he created a solar powered smartphone charger, whilst earlier this year he teamed up with Ikea for a range of tools that work without mains electricity and use renewable energy.

In addition, his Little Sun project provides portable, solar-powered lamps to families, refugees, and local entrepreneurs in off-grid communities. The lamps are priced affordably for families currently using costly and toxic kerosene for their lighting.

Ice Watch will be on display, depending on weather conditions, 11 – 21 December 2018. www.icewatchlondon.com

1. Harvesting ice at Nuuk Port and Harbour, Greenland. Photo: Kuupik V. Kleist/KVK Consult © 2018 Olafur Eliasson
2. Harvesting ice floating in Nuup Kangerlua, Greenland, for Ice Watch in Paris, 2015. Photo: Jørgen Chemnitz © 2015, Olafur Eliasson
3. Harvesting ice floating in Nuup Kangerlua, Greenland. Photo: Studio Olafur Eliasson. © 2018 Olafur Eliasson

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