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December 13, 2011

World’s first Polaris Climate Change Observatory to be built in Cape Town

The Polaris Climate Change Observatory will be completed in 2014. Photo courtesy of Atmosphere Communications

South Africa’s oldest working harbour, the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, will soon be home to the world’s first Polaris Climate Change Observatory (PCCO), a research and science centre dedicated to educating the public about the dire effects of climate change.

The concept was launched on 8 December, 2011 at the Clock Tower, where the International Polar Foundation (IPF) also presented its plan to develop the observatory.

The building site for the observatory has been earmarked as the renowned Collier Jetty, which forms part of the V&A Waterfront’s commercial harbour facilities. Built at the turn of the 20th century, it will now be revitalised with the construction of the observatory, which will resemble a giant iceberg that's melting, as a result of climate change, surrounded by water on all sides.

The Collier Jetty at the V&A Waterfront will be the location of the Polaris Climate Change Observatory. Photo courtesy of Atmosphere Communications

Permanent exhibitions will be held at the centre to give visitors insight into the climatic history of our planet, the rapidly changing polar regions, the disruption of climatic equilibrium due to mankind’s dependence on fossil fuels and what we can do to manage climate change. Interactive performances, conferences, film festivals and more are also on the cards.

Permanent exhibitions at the Observatory will assist in educating the public about climate change. Photo courtesy of Atmosphere Communications

Completion of the observatory is set for 2014, the same year that Cape Town, one of five Southern Rim Gateway Cities to Antarctica, will be the World Design Capital.

The launch was attended by leading Climate Smart champions, including His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, the official patron of the Polaris Climate Change Observatory, and Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco.

Alderman Belinda Walker, the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning, represented by Alderman Felicity Purchase on the evening, welcomed the PCCO. “We are extremely privileged to have been identified as the host city for this groundbreaking international initiative. The Polaris Climate Change Observatory at the heart of the V&A Waterfront will further entrench Cape Town’s growing status as an iconic destination and international business centre and design hub.”

For more information about the Polaris Climate Change Observatory, please visit www.polarfoundation.org/projects/project_detail/polaris_climate_change_observatory

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