Climate Change top of the agenda as Nordic ministers meet Germany's Merkel in Iceland

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By Katy Dartford  with Reuters & AP
Climate Change top of the agenda as Nordic ministers meet Germany's Merkel in Iceland

Nordic leaders are gathering in Iceland today to unite against a common threat: climate change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks leaders of Norway, Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Sweden at the annual meeting of the Nordic Council, as well as representatives of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Aland Islands.

It comes after environmentalists in Iceland laid a commemorative plaque on the site of a Glacier on Sunday, that had been declared dead.

The Okjokull glacier had existed for 700 years and the ceremony was a warning to the world about the dangers of global warming.

Geologist Oddur Sigurðsson pronounced the glacier extinct about a decade ago because it no longer had the critical mass necessary to move and so couldn't be defined as a glacier.

This was Iceland's first glacier to disappear. But Sigurdsson said all of the nation's ice masses will be gone in 200 years.

"We see the consequences of the climate crisis," Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said. "We have no time to lose."

Jakobsdottir said she will make climate change a priority when Nordic leaders and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet in Reykjavik on Tuesday.

Scientists warned on Monday that countries in the northern hemisphere can expect longer summer heatwaves, as well as more consecutive days of heavy rain with harmful consequences if internationally agreed goals to limit global warming are exceeded.

A study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said more hotter-than-average days would cluster together if the world warms by 2 degrees Celsius (3.6F) above pre-industrial times, lengthening the duration of future hot spells.

In 2018, several spells of hot and dry weather, each lasting weeks, contributed to wheat losses of 15% in Germany, they noted.

Meanwhile, European cities have sweltered through record-breaking heatwaves this summer, with several countries - from Britain to Germany and France - setting new temperature highs.

Watch the video in the media player above: Secretary-General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Paula Lehtomäki says Nordic countries are committed to becoming world leaders in climate policy