Cities, Climate Change

Twelve immense blocks of ice, harvested from free-floating icebergs in a fjord outside Nuuk, Greenland, were arranged in clock formation on the Place du Panthéon, to melt symbolically during COP 21.

This was an art installation by Olafur Eliasson and Minik Rosing – it was eerie, beautiful, terrifying. A visceral and powerful reminder of why the work all the negotiators were doing during COP 21 is so desperately important.

Paris was unusually warm for the time of year (well it is the hottest year on record…again…) and the ice was visibly dripping even around midnight, which is when we visited. It should be freezing.

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The ice blocks themselves were all incredibly different in density and texture – some dense and opaque almost like chalk, and others filled with bubbles and lesions, with a transparency of a couple of inches. They were all breathtaking.

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Visit for more details, and for the carbon footprint calculation they did for bringing the ice to Paris, and yes they offset it.


Claire Bonham-Carter is a director of sustainable development for AECOM.

Originally published Dec 16, 2015

Author: Claire Bonham-Carter