The former Danish Minister for Climate and Energy, Connie Hedegaard, targeted the UNESCO World Heritage site Ilulissat Icefjord as a prime example of ‘the Greenlandic case’ and called it a strong ‘climate symbol’. Between the years 2005 and 2009, she invited other Ministers and heads of state to visit the venue for dialogue meetings about climate change. This process also attracted many other interested parties, such as journalists,scientists, royals and tourists. During this time, there was a consensus that the Icefjord is a strong symbol in the climate change debate – and quite a powerful one. Using an analysis that draws upon Peirce’s three analytical categories (icon, index and symbol), this paper explores the role and position of the Ilulissat Icefjord in global climate discourses. As a case, the Ilulissat Icefjord serves to effectively demonstrate how climate symbols are constructed, and how they influence our perception of the global phenomenon known as climate change. A central STS question in this article are: How does one localize climate change, and what kind of role do climate symbols like the Ilulissat Icefjord play in this process?
Greenland; Climate change; Inuit
Main Research Area:
Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), 2012