H.M. Konungens tal vid The Royal Colloquium

Narsaq, Grönland

(Det talade ordet gäller)

Welcome to the eight Royal Colloquium! I find it a great privilege to be able to gather a number of outstanding experts in a certain field to exchange knowledge and ideas about important issues of our time.

The two latest colloquia have, in various ways, been related to climate change and its consequences for the environment and for the survival of humanity. A conclusion of the meeting two years ago, on the icebreaker Oden, was that the scientific evidence of changes in the global environment are strong. Adjustment will be necessary, and most likely difficult and costly.

Climate change has become a major concern for scientists but today it is also high on the political agenda thereby attracting a great deal of media attention.

But climate changes are no news; they have occurred before. It is also widely accepted that man´s activities are influencing this process, but it is uncertain how and to which extent.

What can we learn ?

This is the question I would like to put to all of you around the table. On one hand we have a rich archeological material and historical records about climate change and human survival strategies in the past. On the other hand we might be facing a new situation in terms of global impact and the multitude of ways in which we are all interconnected. The Minister of Environment from the Seychelles expressed his worries at the Royal Colloquium in 2005 when the rise of the sea level was discussed: "In the past people were migrating, but today we have no place to go to."

This brings me to the theme of this Royal Colloquium:
Past climate change — human survival strategies.

We need to look back in order to move forward.

As you realise the place we have chosen for this colloquium is closely related to the topic we will be discussing. Here, in Southern Greenland, the Norse settlements is the medevial times, lasted for almost five centuries. Their mysterious disappearance gives a fascinating illustration to the interplay between human conditions and climate.

We will learn more about this interesting history during the days to come when we will visit some of the most important historical sites in the area. Let us use this knowledge in discussing how to deal with the changes which loom ahead.

With these words I once again wish you welcome to the 8th Royal Colloquium and to a productive and inspiring exchange of knowledge and ideas here in Narsaq.