UN chief, Chile's Boric to visit Antarctica before COP28 climate summit

FILE PHOTO: Scientists from the University of Chile collect organic material as they look for a bacteria discovered in Antarctica

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres will travel to Antarctica this week with Chilean President Gabriel Boric to observe the impact of rising temperatures caused by climate change on the continent, he said on Monday.

"Scorching temperatures mean Antarctic ice is melting ever-faster, with deadly consequences for people around the world," Guterres told reporters.

Guterres and Boric will be in Antarctica from Wednesday to Saturday, subject to weather conditions, the U.N. communications office in Chile said.

The two are set to see the Collins and Nelson Glaciers, as well as a stop to see the penguins and other native species at Kopaitic Island, according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Guterres will speak on his experience during U.N. climate summit COP28 in Dubai next week, where he will "call for action that matches the scale of the crisis we face," he said.

World leaders will convene for the annual conference with the aim of keeping the Paris Agreement warming target of 1.5C alive. As they stand, countries' emissions pledges would still put the world on track to warm by nearly 3 degrees Celsius this century, according to a U.N. analysis released on Monday.

Boric traveled to Antarctica previously this year, and has invited other leaders such as Chinese President Xi Jinping to do the same. He shot back last week at opposition criticism for the emissions put out by traveling to the continent by plane.

"I'll propose to the secretary general of the U.N. that we row our way there in a canoe, instead of traveling with the Chilean Air Force, so people like you don't have to go through this hard time," he said to one critic on social media platform X.

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos in Santiago; Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Kylie Madry; editing by Grant McCool)