Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Climate Change, Trump and Jaime Lannister's Chances of Survival

Game of Thrones begins production on its final season in October

The season 7 finale of Game of Thrones showed a rip-roaring argument between Cersei and Jaime Lannister, with Cersei threatening to have her brother/lover killed for not obeying her. We were left with Jaime heading North, to fight in the Great War.

During an appearance yesterday in Manhattan, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jamie, said he doesn’t know if his character will survive to the end of season 8, which begins filming in October: “No idea, I don’t have a clue.”

The war over Westeros aside, Coster-Waldau is focused on preserving the world we all inhabit.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau
Amy Sussman/AP

Coster-Waldau, 47, is a United Nations Development Programme global ambassador and passionate about combatting climate change. He chatted with PEOPLE before a Q & A on stage at the Social Good Summit, which gathers world leaders and activists and coincides with this week’s United Nations General Assembly.

He spoke of his wife’s homeland, Greenland, and the changes already evident in the warming land and waters.

His wife grew up in the northwest of Greenland in Uummannaq, dog-sledding on the sea ice as a child. At 14, she left Uummannaq for the city, and returned for the first time about three years ago.

“It was in February, and she called me and she was in tears. She said, ‘There’s no ice on the ocean.’ It shocked her completely,” he said. “It is changing a whole way of life.”

What does he say to people who deny global warming?

“Why would all these scientists just make it up? Why would all these people lie? Who has an interest in this? It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

“I saw today that the astronaut Scott Kelly, someone tweeted saying, ‘You have got to help me, my family insists the world is flat,’ and he said, ‘Tell them, I’ve been around it 8,000 times, it’s round,'” he said. “It’s basically like two and two is four, and even if you say it is five, it is really four.”

Coster-Waldau has made simple changes to go green, such as switching to energy-efficient light bulbs. “You think this is nothing, but actually it’s one of those things that when 10 million people do it, it has a real effect,” he said.

What other things can an individual do to make a difference?

“It’s about putting pressure on your government,” he said. “Be specific on where you put your vote, not just your president but your senators, your governors.”

He added: “We are all at risk if we don’t do something.”

Coster-Waldau wasn’t at all surprised when Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord.

“He ran on that,” he said. “I think it’s a terrible decision, but I want to look at the positive, and the positive is the reaction of the rest of the world and the cities in the United States, who say we will keep doing our part.”

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