Dubai imports special glacier ice from Greenland for bars and cafes, a month after COP28 summit
Patrons at upmarket bars and cafes in Dubai will soon be enjoying rare cubes of glacier ice shipped in from the North Atlantic Ocean in their drinks and iced lattes, barely a month after the country promised to do more to tackle pollution at the annual UN climate conference it hosted.
A start-up in Greenland harvests glacial ice from natural glaciers in the Arctic and exports it around 9,000 nautical miles to the UAE, according to a report in The Guardian.
In December, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosted the international COP28 climate summit, at which nations agreed to transition away from fossil fuels, whose use is a main driver of climate change.
Since news broke out of its new Gulf partnership, Arctic Ice’s co-founder said it had been hit by criticism from environmentalists who have accused the company of contributing to the climate crisis.
But Malik V Rasmussen said the ice, which is sourced from around Greenland’s fjords, is environmentally friendly, and that it is common on the island to use glacial ice in drinks.
The ice is formed over millennia without bubbles and melts more slowly than regular ice – a particularly desirable trait for the UAE's hot climate.
The icebergs harvested by the company have naturally broken off glaciers connected to Greenland's ice sheet.
The small company recently started exporting to the Gulf via Denmark and it hopes to pave the way for more ice sales from Greenland, whose economy has been traditionally reliant on exporting fish and tourism.
However, the UAE’s decision to import the ice will raise eyebrows amongst environmentalists who were already sceptical of the Gulf nation’s green credentials as host of COP28.
Sultan al-Jaber, who served as head of the climate conference alongside his existing role as the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), faced backlash in December after insisting that the use of fossil fuels should continue despite the climate emergency.
The UAE is among the ten top producers of oil in the world and was accused of double standards as the COP28 host and a major contributor to the fossil fuel industry.
These fears appeared to materialise when leaked documents appeared to show that the state had been hoping to use its position as host to barter oil and gas deals.
The UAE has a well-developed tourism and hospitality industry and has become a popular holiday destination.
Just last week, Dubai slashed its alcohol tax and made liquor licenses free to obtain in a bid to boost tourism.