UN chief on Greenland climate change visit

View photos
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, center, and Greenland's Environment Minister Kim Kielsen, right, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 in Ilulissat in Greenland. The visit takes place in preparation for the U.N. Climate Summit on September this year in New York. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Leiff Josefsen) DENMARK OUT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Global warming must not be forgotten, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday after visiting Greenland to get an up-close look at the consequences of climate problems.

"You can't argue with nature. We need to act now," Ban said in Uummannaq, a town of 1,200 people north of the Arctic Circle. "The problem doesn't go away by being silent."

Ban spoke after meeting with residents and taking a dogsled ride under deep blue skies outside Uummannaq, the first of two towns in Greenland he will visit to prepare for a climate summit in New York in September.

For the sled ride, Ban, his wife and his hosts — Greenland Premier Aleqa Hammond and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt — wore traditional sealskin outfit to keep warm as temperatures reached -24 degree Celsius (11.2 degrees Fahrenheit).

Local lawmaker Sakio Fleischer said Ban was visiting "to see the effects of climate change." Fleischer said the fjord near the town only freezes for four months a year now instead of six months like it used to.

Ban is also scheduled to see a glacier carrying ice from Greenland's ice sheet, which scientists say has been losing mass over the past two decades, adding to the rise in sea levels.