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iN Focus: cop21

lay people are either unaware of climate change or misjudge the
level of consensus.
In developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Egypt, some two
thirds of people have never heard of the problem, according to
Gallup data.
In the rich world awareness is higher, but citzens perceive the
evidence as more uncertain than it is. Only 57% of US adults think
scientsts “generally agree” people are making the world hoter, a
recent Pew survey found.
Some of the most signifcant climate impacts are found at the North
and South Poles, which are warming faster than the global average.
Meltng ice sheets are causing sea levels to rise, posing a threat to
hundreds of millions of people living in coastal regions worldwide.
Scholars like Price and Knudsen brave harsh, icy conditons to gather
data and sharpen up predictons on the rate of change. Fresh from
the fronters of climate science, they wanted to share that experience
with others.
Price would cycle from the South Pole and Knudsen run from the Erlend Knudsen runs last stretch to Bergen. Photo: © Oda Eiken / Uni Bjerknes
North – or as near as possible – giving talks along the way. Centre.
They had a “lucky break” at the start, says Price, when the UN
Development Programme (UNDP) signed up as a partner.
“It gives a fantastc platorm,” says Price. “When I started the project,
“I was coming through all the developing countries. We would put I thought this journey would work, but I didn’t really think how
together local stories on climate change issues.”
efectve it would be with the media.”
He met government ofcials in Indonesia to talk about renewable He hasn’t quite cycled the whole way. Rather than skid across the
energy and shot a documentary on sea level rise in low-lying McMurdo ice shelf where he did his feldwork, Price pedalled of
from New Zealand in April.
All along the route, cycling was a hook to get people interested, with Russia would only grant a transit visa, allowing enough tme to
500 bikers joining a demo in Jakarta.
catch the Trans-Siberian Express but not to make it across under his
own steam.
And the UNDP collaboraton involved some travel back and forth.
The pair promised to ofset the emissions of unavoidable fights using
Those detours aside, Price will have cycled 10,000km by the tme he
arrives in Paris, covering Australia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia,
Thailand, Bangladesh, China, Mongolia and Europe.
Equipped with a Britsh-made Brooks saddle – “a godsend” – he has
managed to avoid saddle sores, despite a gruelling schedule.
His longest day was a 250km stretch in the Gobi Desert. Joined by a
friend, he covered Beijing to Ulan Bator in nine days.
“Now I am thinking it was a litle bit insane,” Price admits. “We
would stop for lunch and set up a tent just to get out of the sun, it
was so hot.

“We met nomadic herders with big herds of wild horses. It was
brilliant… in that region climate change is prety apparent, they are
struggling with desertfcaton.”
In Norway, Knudsen had cold, not heat, to contend with. Setng of
from Tromso in August, conditons were summery enough, but he
ran into a blizzard outside the southerly city of Bergen a month later.
“That was a bit sketchy,” says Knudsen. “It was really slippery, really
cold with no visibility. There was no-one else there.”
Determined not to use a back-up car, he ran carrying 12-15kg of gear
Pole to Paris – spreading the message through the streets of Jakarta. in a pack.
Photo: © Dr. Daniel Price.

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