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Postby rath » Sat May 16, 2009 4:53 am

Tairaa wrote:Well Antarctica can only melt down so far, as there is land mass underneath the ice right? So it's better then a claim in the Arctic. ;)

Yep there is and under the ice, the (only) land mass is the Australian Antartcica territory.

hence all the anger @ Australia from all the nations who wish to (build) in Antarctica & mine it down the road, but cant coz Australia wont let them.

Australia is the Boss in Antarctica, coz Australia was the first to reach the south pole & Australia has the largest claim.

The Antarctic Treaty System:

The Antarctic Treaty System: an introduction

The Antarctic Treaty System is the whole complex of arrangements made for the purpose of regulating relations among states in the Antarctic. At its heart is the Antarctic Treaty itself. The original Parties to the Treaty were the 12 nations active in the Antarctic during the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. The Treaty was signed in Washington on 1 December 1959 and entered into force on 23 June 1961. The Consultative Parties comprise the original Parties and a further fourteen States that have become Consultative Parties by acceding to the Treaty and demonstrating their interest in Antarctica by carrying out substantial scientific activity there.

The primary purpose of the Antarctic Treaty is to ensure "in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord." To this end it prohibits military activity, except in support of science; prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste; promotes scientific research and the exchange of data; and holds all territorial claims in abeyance. The Treaty applies to the area south of 60° South Latitude, including all ice shelves and islands.

The Treaty is augmented by Recommendations adopted at Consultative Meetings, by the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid, 1991), and by two separate conventions dealing with the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (London 1972), and the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (Canberra 1980). The Convention on the Regulation of Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities (Wellington 1988), negotiated between 1982 and 1988, will not enter into force.

The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) is now held annually. During each ATCM, there is also a meeting of the Committee of Environmental Protection (CEP). The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) is an observer at ATCMs and CEPs, and provides independent scientific advice as requested in a variety of fields, particularly on environmental and conservation matters.

China Building Base at Dome A

A Chinese expedition has begun building the Kunlun research base at 'Dome A', 4093 metres above sea level; it is scheduled to open on 28 January. It will be a major legacy of the International Polar Year and will propel China to the heart of the Antarctic map. The other Chinese stations are Great Wall station, in the South Shetland Islands, and Zhongshan station in East Antarctica. Kunlun will have a main building of 230 square metres, with 11 units for sleeping, eating and working. It will have space for up to 25 people. Six more units will be added next year, for a total area of 327 square metres.

Having a base at Dome A offers the prospect of finding older ice than that drilled at Dome C, where past climate has been reconstructed back to 800,000 years from an ice core. The ice underneath Dome A is over 3,000 metres thick, which could push the climate record back to 1.5 million years.

What Lies Beneath?

Broadcast: 03/03/2009

In Antarctica the race is on for scientific supremacy and to find an ice-scientist’s Holy Grail - a 1,000,000 year old ice core.

It’s thought that’s where the secrets to understanding global warming may have been snap frozen.

And the best place to look – the vast Australian Antarctic Territory.

Presenter Mark Corcoran asks if the Australian Government really knows what it’s sitting on in the frozen south and if enough money and scientific wherewithal has been committed to chasing the big answers to the big problem of global warming.

As analysis emerges that Antarctica is melting quicker than previously thought, the warming world’s Great White Hope is also becoming a very crowded place.

Now the Chinese are ramping up their efforts in Antarctica in a quest for global scientific prestige. This summer, China launched a massive inland expedition to build a base at the highest and coldest point in Australian Antarctica. (Under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, they didn’t need Canberra’s permission to do so.)

Corcoran was on hand as the headquarters ship of the Chinese Expedition, the Xue Long (Snow Dragon) dropped anchor off Australia’s Casey Station.

But are the Chinese driven by climate change science? Or are they - and other energy and revenue hungry nations - staking a claim in the Antarctica’s extraordinary untapped riches.

The Antarctic Treaty still keeps national ambitions in check – and forbids minerals and energy exploitation, but for how long? And can Australia continue to credibly lay claim 42% of this continent if its once dominant presence is seen to be melting away?


CORCORAN: Early last century this icy continent was carved up in a land grab – with Australia claiming the biggest slice – 42%. Then came an international treaty that froze the claims, science became the new sovereignty of the Antarctic. Now the race is on to save the planet.

DR JACK HOLT: “If it all melted, global sea level would go up 60 to 70 metres.”

CORCORAN: But politics is also back on the ice. China has arrived and is chasing the prestige of being the first to unlock Antarctica’s global warming secrets.

DR EDI ALBERT: “Why of a sudden are we finding other nations… you know Italy, France, China, suddenly contributing millions of dollars in equivalent to building new statements? And the answer here isn’t.. it can’t just be science can it? It’s about minerals.”

CORCORAN: It’s a race Australian expeditioners fear losing.

GRAHAM COOK: “I would think that the Government really needs to look at what we’re doing down here and decide what it is that we want to do down here, and fund it appropriately.”

CORCORAN: Our Antarctic expedition sets forth from Hobart, not in an icebreaker but aboard an airliner. The Australian Government started weekly summer flights to its Antarctic stations last year. For decades the only way south was an epic two week voyage through some of the world’s most treacherous seas. Now that’s all been reduced to a four and a half hour ride in an airbus.

Our destination appears as a distant slash on the ice. Centrepiece of the 46 million dollar Airlink project is the Wilkins Runway. It’s built on a huge glacier, making it one of the world’s few airports that moves, 12 metres a year. This is no place to linger and the ground crew swiftly load passengers and cargo for the home leg.

The 65 kilometre drive to Casey Station takes nearly as long as the flight. Out here it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the vastness of the empty continent, twice the size of Australia, 98% covered by ice.

Casey’s one of 3 Australian stations clinging to the Antarctic coast.
It looks like the mining camp that Lego built, the colour coding instantly identifying a building’s function.

The new Air Link has sent Casey into overdrive for the short summer research season. This is station leader Graham Cook’s third year long stint down here and he says the long periods of isolation are now history.

GRAHAM COOK: [Casey Station leader] “In the past we had people come down on the ship and they were here for the whole of the summer or for the summer and the winter - and now we are finding that every week there’s 15/16 new people come in on a flight and 15 people go out so the culture of the station population changes. We’ve got new friends every week.

CORCORAN: On arrival everyone, us included, is kitted up for 24 hours survival training.

MARTIN BENAVENTE: “We’ll walk around today covering as many of the skills as we need to for survival training, including tonight to bivvy out or stay out for the night without a tent.”

CORCORAN: With 80 kilometre an hour gusts and the wind chill of minus 30, we trudge out beyond the rocky coastal fringe into nothing, just the gentle rise of the ice, into what the old hands dubbed ‘the Great White Hell’.

“So this is a fairly typical summer’s day in the Antarctic?”

MARTIN BENAVENTE: “Reasonably, yeah reasonably.”

CORCORAN: Here in East Antarctica there’s no sign of the tourist numbers drawn to the more accessible west, directly under South America. Harsh conditions prevail and you have to know how to survive as the Antarctic can very swiftly kill you.

MARTIN BENAVENTE: “The weather could change here from a clear blue sky to a full white-out or blizzard, in as little as about twenty minutes at Casey Station.”

CORCORAN: But good weather can return just as fast. We settle down for a night on the ice, watching a summer sky that never completely darkens, when the seductive lure of this strange world finally reveals itself.

Modern jet aircraft get the scientists here, but out on the skiway, a very different aviation experience awaits. This World War II vintage DC-3 is regarded as the toughest plane for the job ahead. It’s the centrepiece of the ICECAP project, involving Australia, the UK and the US with Canadian pilots. They’re all part of the International Polar Year, a massive multinational research scheme investigating climate change.

American glaciologist Jack Holt is part scientist, part explorer.

DR JACK HOLT: [Glaciologist, University of Texas] “This part of the Antarctic ice sheet has been largely unexplored and so this international program is the big first effort to understand what’s beneath the surface.”

CORCORAN: “What percentage of the world’s ice is locked up here?”

DR JACK HOLT: “Oh it’s over 90% of the world’s ice. It’s kind of amazing that we don’t know what’s beneath it because it’s a big part of our planet.”

CORCORAN: The ICECAP team takes off in the half light of midnight, when interference from the earth’s magnetic field is lowest. 50 metre high ice cliffs mark the very edge of vast glaciers before they sheer off.

DR JACK HOLT: “Some of these glaciers like Totten Glacier here, it’s catchment - the area where all of the snow and the ice accumulates and drains into it - is thousands of kilometres across. I mean it’s huge. It probably contains more ice in this catchment than all of Greenland and West Antarctica combined.”

CORCORAN: “That’s just one.”

DR JACK HOLT: “That’s just one.”

CORCORAN: Deep ice means old ice. Find Antarctica’s deepest ice, in parts nearly 5 kilometres thick and Jack Holt will know where to drill for the Holy Grail of climate change research – a one million year old core of ice.

DR JACK HOLT: “There was some kind of a change about a million years ago in how the earth’s climate system works and there may have been even more rapid climate change in the past beyond 800,000 years, so one of the things we’re doing is searching for even older ice in Antarctica to core and study direct samples of the atmosphere from over a million years ago.”

CORCORAN: Assisting in this scientific treasure hunt is an array of sophisticated equipment. Ice penetrating radar and even part of a navigation system borrowed from a US nuclear submarine. This summer they’ll cover an area bigger than New South Wales. Every flight is a mission of discovery as they detect massive mountain ranges, valleys and amazingly vast unfrozen lakes – all buried deep beneath the ice.

DR JACK HOLT: “This is like a… in some sense, a final frontier on this planet. East Antarctica where we’re standing has an ice sheet that, if it all melted, global sea level would go up 60-70 metres and so if it changes just a tiny fraction, you could see significant increases in sea level.”

CORCORAN: Out on the water there’s a real sense of urgency as Australian scientists, like Martin Riddle, chase answers to one of the hottest environmental and political issues of our time.

“Why is the Antarctic so important to climate change research?”

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “For a number of reasons actually. It’s one of the most sensitive parts of the world to climate change - to climate change processes - so it’s one of the places where we’re going to see the impacts of climate change first. But it’s also really important because there are long term records of past climates locked away in the Antarctic ice.”

CORCORAN: While international attention has focussed on the northern hemisphere, Greenland and the Arctic, it’s what happens down here that could really tip the balance. For years it was assumed Antarctica had escaped global warming. Not anymore.

“Is the Antarctic ice subject to climate change…. global warming?”

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “It’s pretty certain that the Antarctic peninsular is losing some ice. Some of the glacier basins there are definitely shrinking. It’s not yet confirmed whether the East Antarctic is actually shrinking yet, and some of the work that’s happening here at the moment is looking at that very question.”

CORCORAN: Scientists now estimate global sea levels could rise by one and a half metres by the end of this century. That’s nearly double the most pessimistic prediction of only two years ago. But no one has accurately calculated the Antarctic factor, the point of catastrophic polar meltdown.

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “If it does happen it will be something that happens over centuries and thousands of years. It’s a long term thing but if it does happen and if we get to a point, a tipping point where it can’t turn back, it will be completely out of our control.”

CORCORAN: But there’s another far more immediate climate change crisis looming in just three decades and it threatens the very survival of these penguins and other wildlife. It’s called ‘ocean acidification’, increasing amounts of man-made CO2 gases are being absorbed by these freezing waters and may soon start killing off minute marine life, severing a vital link in the Antarctic food chain.

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: The iconic species of the Antarctic, the penguins, the seals, the whales, are all dependent on these small planktonic organisms for their survival.

CORCORAN: “So you’re talking about a catastrophic problem emerging here?”

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “Absolutely so. Yes, a complete change-over in the eco system. We’ll cross this threshold in about thirty years, but ocean acidification is a problem that we’ve got to deal with now. It is very, very immediate. We’re going to see those changes happen first in the Antarctic and if we don’t do something about our CO2 emissions, we’re then going to see them happening in temperate areas and on tropics.”

CORCORAN: The Australian Government proclaims its commitment to climate change science but at Casey there’s frustration that the rhetoric isn’t matched by reality. Surprisingly, there’s only a dozen researchers here. Most of the 76 expeditioners are busy just keeping the station running.

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: With the introduction of the Air transport system, we haven’t yet had the scientific payback from that. We’re still putting in some of the infrastructure. So you will have seen that at Casey there’s a lot of people, but there’s relatively few scientists down here at the moment.

CORCORAN: Airlink aside, the Antarctic Division’s annual budget has remained frozen at about $100 million for the past decade. Graham Cook says his team is increasingly overworked and under-resourced.

GRAHAM COOK: “I think we could do a lot more but it’s one of those areas of Government that is vastly underfunded and we do a great job for the funds that we get and you know there’s a lot more work that could be done, a lot more science could be done in Antarctica. If some of our ministers are out there listening to this interview, guys open the purse strings up.”

CORCORAN: Fortunately it’s not money but a sense of adventure that lures most expeditioners to Casey. Jenn McGhee, a plant operator from South Australia, is one of ten women on station.

Staring out from the walls is the old guard of expeditions past - the once exclusively male club of winterer’s. They’d endure a year down here living in little more than plywood sheds. Jenn McGhee’s father was a winterer in 1961 and it was his tales of adventure that brought her here.

JENN MCGHEE: [Looking at photograph] “He still looks the same…. chubby cheeks and a bit cheeky. That’s him there.”

CORCORAN: “So what does he think about you being here today?”

JENN MCGHEE: “Absolutely blown away. Pretty excited and really happy that I could share some of the similar experiences that he had down here.”

CORCORAN: “Yeah. Any worries or concerns of his daughter coming down to this environment?”

JENN MCGHEE: “No, not for his best boy, no. He had four daughters my dad, so I’m probably the closest thing to a son as far as adventuring and travelling and just getting amongst it. So yeah, he’s pretty happy.”

CORCORAN: Inside the living quarters, with its ski lodge ambience, life is extremely comfortable. There’s a get together once a week, plenty of food, free beer and good company. But one topic appears to be off the limits of polite conversation, the sensitive issue of Antarctic politics.

“Australia claims 42% of all Antarctica as Australian territory. But under the terms of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, the whole continent has been declared a kind of international zone, devoted to science and peace, where the military and mining are banned. But spend a bit of time here at Casey and you come away with the feeling that sovereignty is every bit as important as science. Under the terms of the Treaty no other country needs to ask Australian permission to set up a base here, as the Italians, French, Russians and others have done - and they’re all now closely watching the rapid emergence of another player on the ice, China.”

Enter the Snow Dragon, Chinese expeditioners from the research ship Xue Long. There’s a long tradition of scientific co-operation in the Antarctic, even during the height of the Cold War, enemies left their disputes behind as they set foot on the ice.

The Chinese have just launched a huge inland expedition to build a base, China’s 3rd, at a location called Dome A. At 4,200 metres it’s the highest, coldest point in Australian Antarctic Territory. This epic trek is big news back home on State TV.

CHINESE MAN LEADING TEAM: “We sacrifice our lives to the Antarctic project!”

CORCORAN: China doesn’t recognise Australia’s claim and didn’t seek Canberra’s permission to be here, 2000 kilometres inland from Casey. Their mission is far more ambitious than anything Australia has attempted.

As expedition leader, Professor Hui Gen Yang and his entourage tour Casey. Every structure and piece of equipment is methodically photographed.
The Chinese acknowledge they’ve gained much from Australia’s century of experience here. They receive a warm welcome in the bar, and a taste of Casey’s social life.

Professor Yang is surprised to meet the ICECAP team. He confirms that China is also racing to be the first to secure a million year old ice core.

PROFESSOR HUI GEN YANG: [Chinese Expedition Leader] “At Dome A we are trying to drill the ice core to the bottom to recover the climate change for about one million years.”

CORCORAN: You think you’ll find one million years?”

PROFESSOR HUI GEN YANG: “Yes…. no… we hope. We hope.”

CORCORAN: Despite the tradition of international cooperation, you get the sense that there hasn’t been too much sharing of notes over the ICECAP project.

PROFESSOR HUI GEN YANG: “I’m very surprised. I didn’t realise that you are doing…”.

CORCORAN: “Some friendly competition.”

PROFESSOR HUI GEN YANG: “Yeah, yeah, yeah and I think we can find opportunity to collaborate.”

CORCORAN: But ICECAP’s Jack Holt is sceptical of China’s motives in choosing the Dome A site.

“Are they setting up in the right place?”

DR JACK HOLT: “Well we’ll see I guess in a few years but we actually think that this area that we are studying, the Aurora Basin is more likely to contain an old ice record you know going back to a million years than up in the mountains you know that are beneath the Dome A up there where they are studying.”

CORCORAN: “Why do you think they’ve gone for that spot?”

DR JACK HOLT: “Well I think there’s, it’s a little appealing you know in some ways to go to the very highest, coldest point in Antarctica and establish a base so I think that might be part of their motivation.”

CORCORAN: “Yeah a bit beyond science perhaps.”

DR JACK HOLT: “Yeah and you know you can hardly blame them. That’s happened before. I mean the South Pole station is really not there because of the science. It’s because it’s the South Pole.

CORCORAN: “And that’s an American base.”

DR JACK HOLT: “And that’s an American base so you know it’s a matter of presence and a signal to others to say yes, we’re here, it’s difficult, we made it.”

CORCORAN: The Chinese and Americans may not be the only ones mixing science and international interest.

DR EDI ALBERT: “It’s an amazing place and the opportunity to live and work here is a tremendous one.”

CORCORAN: For station doctor, Edi Albert, the Antarctic provides the opportunity to combine medicine with his passion for the outdoors. While mission leaders here naturally enough have to measure their language, Edi Albert feels under no such constraint. He spells out the growing chasm between Australia’s official aims and what he sees as the real agenda.

DR EDI ALBERT: “Why are we down here I suppose is what you’re asking isn’t it? I don’t rightly know. I mean are the American’s interested in being here? Why all of a sudden are we finding other nations, you know Italy, France, China, suddenly you know contributing millions of dollars in equivalent to building new stations and the answer here isn’t, it can’t just be science can it?”

CORCORAN: “What is the answer?”

DR EDI ALBERT: “I think what most people who’ve been you know in and out of the Antarctic division or their equivalents are fairly convinced that it’s about minerals.”

CORCORAN: Australia was instrumental in ensuring that mining was banned under the Antarctic Treaty but what may ultimately save the continent from exploitation is the sheer inaccessibility of the coal and iron ore buried deep beneath the ice.

GRAHAM COOK: “I think the Treaty is fairly safe at the moment. The resources are left alone because of the difficulties of getting to them and I’m not that sure of what is available. I think that the Treaty’s fairly strong and hopefully will stay put for a long time.”

CORCORAN: However just beyond Casey, not far from where the Chinese research ship Xue Long lies anchored, there’s a far more accessible resource beneath the seabed – oil.

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: The sovereignty questions are large set aside at the moment. Who knows what will happen if the pressure on resources, mineral resources and oil exploration or oil resources increases into the future? When I joined the Antarctic program in 1994 the chief scientist at the time use to joke that it would not be cost effective to take oil from the Antarctic unless oil was $65 a barrel. And he said that with a smile on his face because it would never be possible that it would be that expensive and of course we’ve seen it much more expensive than that.”

CORCORAN: Back out at the Wilkins runway, the Australian Airbus has just delivered a group of Chinese VIPs, here to officially open China’s new base over at Dome A.

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “China and India are probably the future of Antarctic research. They are going to have the resources in 20 years time… 30 years time. Australia should be building relationships with them. We’ve got very good relationships.

CORCORAN: China is the world’s largest emitter of the man-made CO2 gases now threatening Antarctica’s very existence. So Beijing’s engagement here is encouraged, up to a point. Behind the welcoming smiles though, there’s disillusionment that Australia is being left behind.

GRAHAM COOK: “I think that the Government really needs to look at what we’re doing down here and decide what it is, what we want to do down here, and fund it appropriately.”

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “So it really requires people with great foresight and commitment and dedication to commit the resources to position ourselves to deal with the future that we know is coming to us.”

CORCORAN: “The implication is that we don't get that at the moment.”

DR MARTIN RIDDLE: “That is the implication, yes.”

CORCORAN: The northern hemisphere’s ice meltdown is already altering the political dynamic of the Arctic border states of Russia, Canada and the US. Down there, the Antarctic Treaty still keeps national ambitions in check but for how long?

And can Australia still credibly lay claim to 42% of this continent if its once dominant presence is seen to be melting away?

DR EDI ALBERT: “Why is Australia here? Is this about sovereignty? Is this about muscle flexing in the international community? Is this about mineral resources in 10 years time? Is it genuinely about science looking at climate change and trying to make things better for the future? I don’t see any honesty from above about what we’re actually doing here.”
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Postby Dark-Samus » Sun May 17, 2009 6:37 am

Since I love cold, Just give me the Antarctic. :twisted:
Truth doesn´t control you, you control it...
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Postby rath » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:16 am

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Countries that manage Antarctica plan tough new controls on ships visiting the southern oceans and the fuels they use to reduce the threat of human and environmental disasters as tourist numbers rise, officials said Saturday.

The new code will reduce the number of ships carrying tourists into the region by requiring that all vessels have hulls strengthened to withstand sea ice. Officials and ship operators said a ban on heavy fuel oil will effectively shut out big cruise ships.

Experts from among the 47 signatory nations to the Antarctic Treaty — the world's main tool for managing the continent — and the International Maritime Organization discussed plans to impose a mandatory Polar Code to control all shipping in the region at a meeting in the New Zealand capital, Wellington.

The safeguards are seen as necessary to limit accidents in the region, where blinding sleet, fog, high winds and treacherous seas pose major dangers for ships and huge problems for rescuers located thousands of miles (kilometers) from remote Antarctic waters.

The code will cover vessel design, safety equipment, ship operations and crew training for ice navigation, meeting chairman and New Zealand Antarctic policy specialist Trevor Hughes said.

The nearly completed Polar Code is expected to be in place by 2013, he said. Once approved, it would operate on a voluntary basis until it is ratified by treaty states and becomes legally binding.

While existing rules bar tourists or tour operators from leaving anything behind — like garbage or human waste — and require protection of animal breeding grounds, there are no formal codes on the kind of vessels that can use the waters or the kinds of fuel and other oil products they can carry.

In March, the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations' shipping agency, is to ratify a ban on the carriage or use of heavy fuel oil in Antarctica. It is to come into effect in 2011.

The moves follow a huge growth in tourist traffic as people flock to see the world's last great wilderness.

Annual tourist numbers have grown from about 10,000 a decade ago to 45,000 last year. Tourists can pay between $3,000 and $24,000 for a two-week trip. Some travel on ships carrying up to 3,000 passengers that also take many tons of heavy fuel oil, chemicals and garbage that can pollute the region.

Nathan Russ, operations manager of Antarctic eco-tourism company Heritage Expeditions, said the proposed heavy fuel ban "will most likely regulate the biggest cruise ships out of Antarctic operations" because of the costs involved in switching to lighter fuel.

The Antarctic Treaty, first signed in 1959, is the main tool for regulating what is the world's only continent without a native human population. New Zealand is one of the dozen founding members of the treaty, along with Australia the United States, Russia and Britain. The treaty now has 47 signatories.

The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System or ATS, regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude. The treaty has now been signed by 47 countries, and set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and banned military activity on that continent. This was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War.

The main treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961.

The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957-58 and willing to accept a US invitation to the conference at which the treaty was negotiated. These countries were the ones with significant interests in Antarctica at the time: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom. Among them, the signatories had established over 50 Antarctic stations for the IGY. The treaty was a diplomatic expression of the operational and scientific cooperation that had been achieved "on the ice".

Since the designation of the Australian Antarctic Territory pre-dated the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, in 1959 some of the complex suite of Australian laws that relate to Antarctica date from more than two decades before the Antarctic Treaty era. In terms of criminal law, the laws that apply to the Jervis Bay Territory (a non-contiguous part of the Australian Capital Territory) apply to the Australian Antarctic Territory. Key Australian legislation applying Antarctic Treaty System decisions include the Antarctic Treaty Act 1960, the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980 and the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Conservation Act 1981.

The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is the part of Antarctica claimed by Australia and is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation.


Australia is among seven nations which have claimed territory in Antarctica. The other claimant nations are Argentina, Chile, France, New zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom.

The Australian claim is based on discovery and a long historical association with this part of Antarctica.

Australia's Douglas Mawson led the 1911 to 1914 Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) which established bases at Commonwealth Bay and the Shackleton Ice Shelf. The expedition explored extensively along the coast near the bases and claimed this land as British territory.

In 1929 – 1931 further extensive claims to sovereignty were made by the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research (BANZARE) expedition again led by Douglas Mawson.

Three new landings were made and aircraft flights discovered the BANZARE Coast and Princess Elizabeth Land. The expedition also generated scientific results that were so voluminous that reports were still being published three decades later.

In two summer voyages Discovery and the expedition aircraft traversed the whole coastline from 45°E to 160°E, defining the limits of what was to become the Australian Antarctic Territory. Mawson made proclamations claiming sovereignty for Britain over Antarctic lands at each of landfall.

Frank Hurley

Photographer Australasian Antarctic Expedition

James Francis (Frank) Hurley (1885-1962) is regarded as an extraordinary Australian photographer, adventurer, filmmaker and writer. His craving for exploration and adventure complemented his image-making to produce some of the most enduring achievements of Australian photography, and a profound impact on a young Australian film industry.

Hurley's most consequential work comes from his first two trips to Antarctica. Among his best known images, are those of the destruction of the Endurance, during Ernest Shackleton's legendary ill-fated Antarctic expedition of 1914-16.





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Postby rath » Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:33 am

June 1, 2012.

New Shelf rights an opportunity for greater protection.

New rights over the seabed do not mean Australia wants to mine it, says TONY PRESS
Australia's proclamation last month of its rights over 11 million square kilometres of continental shelf is the culmination of two decades of scientific research and international diplomacy. The proclamation gives Australia exclusive rights to the resources of the seabed over an area greater than the Australian landmass.

Even though Australia's rights over these areas are affirmed under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, there was an almost immediate comment that this sovereign action by Australia might provoke conflict in the Antarctic Treaty.

Comments on ABC Online refer to two areas of continental shelf extending from the north into the Antarctic Treaty area south of 60 degrees. The largest of these areas is the extended continental shelf arising from the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands between Australia and South Africa; the other is from Macquarie Island, which is part of the state of Tasmania. The suggestion of conflict shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what has actually happened here.

Couple this misunderstanding with the inference that because Australia now has exclusive rights over the seabed it will open all of these areas to mining and we have the inevitable conclusion that Australia is interested in mining in the Antarctic Treaty area. There are no objective facts to support this conclusion.

Quite to the contrary, Australia can use this opportunity to use its exclusive rights to protect these areas.
Let us start with the fact that it was Australia that first walked away from the Antarctic minerals negotiations in 1989, and, along with France and others, negotiated the international protocol that prohibits mining in the Antarctic (the Madrid Protocol).

Abandoning the minerals convention had strong bipartisan political support in Australia - it was John Howard who raised the issue in Parliament in the late 1980s and it was Bob Hawke who, as prime minister, changed Australia's policy and garnered the agreement with France to overturn the steady diplomatic talks that would have seen the Antarctic minerals convention enter into force. The Madrid Protocol prohibits mining in the Antarctic Treaty area - that is, all the oceans and seabed below 60 degrees south, and Antarctica itself. Australia has enacted legislation to enforce the commitments in the Madrid Protocol, including the prohibition on mining.

Comment in the media after last Friday's announcement inferred that Australia's proclamation of the extended continental shelves appurtenant to Heard Island and Macquarie Island are new Antarctic claims contrary to the Antarctic Treaty. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Antarctic Treaty does prohibit new claims, but the extended continental shelves are not new claims - they are areas where rights can be exercised. These rights, granted under international law, flow from existing sovereignty outside the Antarctic Treaty area. This is what is known as the ''outside-inside'' issue, where rights under the Law of the Sea extend into the Antarctic Treaty area.

While this may seem like an arcane piece of international law, it does have practical implications for Australia in the Antarctic Treaty system. Australia can use this proclamation to further protect the Antarctic environment by using it to deny access to the sea floor by countries that have not signed up to the Madrid Protocol.
Australia could also go further and protect seabed marine living resources in all of the areas of its extended continental shelf, not only in the Antarctic Treaty area but in those parts of the Heard Island and Macquarie Island extended continental shelf that lie within the area of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

A prohibition by Australia on destructive bottom fishing on its extended continental shelf would greatly assist international efforts in the area.

Australia will be hosting the Antarctic Treaty meeting in Hobart in the middle of this month. There are no legal or diplomatic surprises in the action taken by Australia. A clear statement of Australia's continued commitment to protect the Antarctic environment will reinforce that there is no real or perceived conflict between its continental shelf proclamation and the Antarctic Treaty.
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Postby rath » Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:38 am

Australia to create world's largest network of marine parks.

June 14, 2012

The Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea reserve will become the world's largest joint protected area
Australia plans to create the world's largest network of marine reserves, its government announced Thursday.

The proposal would increase the number of protected areas from 27 to 60 and would cover 3.1 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles), roughly one-third of Australia's waters.

"We have an incredible opportunity to turn the tide on protection of the oceans and Australia can lead the world in marine protection," said Tony Burke, the country's environment minister.

"This new network of marine reserves will help ensure that Australia's diverse marine environment, and the life it supports, remain healthy, productive and resilient for future generations."

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Coral Sea marine reserve will become the world's largest adjoining marine protected area, covering 1.3 million square kilometers.

Interactive: Conservation hits and misses

"Our aim is to protect our unique marine environment, while supporting coastal communities and marine industries around the country," said Burke.

"Over the coming months, the government will consult the fishing industry and fisheries management agencies on the design and implementation of a fisheries adjustment assistance package."

WWF Australia hailed the plan as an "important example to the world." The newly created sanctuaries would give protection to Australia's biggest undersea mountain range, the Diamantina fracture zone off the southwest coast, as well as new parts of the Coral Sea that are critical nesting sites for green turtles and rich in large predatory fish and sharks.

Paul Gambin from WWF Australia cautioned that some areas equally rich in biodiversity had not been included in the plan, possibly because of their proximity to rich reserves of fossil fuels.

"Oil and gas rigs are still moving ever closer to places like the stunning Rowley Shoals and Ningaloo Reef off Western Australia," said Gambin in a press statement. "These are among the jewels in the crown for Australia's marine environment and surrounding waters have not been protected under this plan."

The marine reserves network is expected to be finalized before the end of 2012.
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Postby rath » Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:14 am

Push for more Antarctic protection.

A meeting of 25 member countries of the Commission for the Conservation of Living Marine Resources (CAMLR) is being held in Hobart.

Four proposals are on the table to protect more than four million square kilometres of ocean and ice.

Australia is behind a proposal to foster greater conservation of Antarctica.

It is working with France on a proposal for next week's meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CAMLR).

The parks would include seven protected areas covering 1.1 million square kilometres.

Current rules govern the management of the fisheries and scientific research.

Australia's representative to CAMLR, Tony Fleming, says the proposal will be put to the meeting in Hobart.

"It would provide protection of the high conservation values in East Antarctica but it would also allow for sustainable fishing in East Antarctica as well," he said.

"One of the proposals will protect spawning grounds for krill and fish like toothfish.

"The proposals would also protect the feeding grounds of penguins and marine mammals."
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Postby greeney2 » Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:47 am

Do you ever wonder why, Santa Claus picked the North Pole, instead of the South Pole? He picked the North Pole and left all his bad little elfs on the South Pole, and called them Australians. :lol:
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Postby rath » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:25 am

greeney2 wrote:Do you ever wonder why, Santa Claus picked the North Pole, instead of the South Pole? He picked the North Pole and left all his bad little elfs on the South Pole, and called them Australians. :lol:


Santa would never allow that to happen to his fellow Australian's.
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Postby rath » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:54 pm

Marine park a step closer

October 30, 2012

PLANS for the world's biggest marine park, in Antarctica, have received a significant boost after the US and New Zealand resolved a major split on the issue.

The two nations had been divided on the plan for the Ross Sea -- largely over the issue of New Zealand's harvest of Antarctic toothfish -- but have now agreed a common proposal covering 2.27 million square kilometres.

The deal -- allowing "light" fishing rather than banning it altogether in a key New Zealand toothfishing ground -- dramatically increases the prospects of the world body for Antarctic marine life accepting the move.

US and New Zealand negotiators told The Australian yesterday that the compromise -- news of which was broken by The Australian online -- included a 1.6 million sq km "no take" zone where fishing would be banned.

Without a joint proposal, it had been expected that the Commission for the Conservation of Marine Living Resources, meeting in Hobart, would fail to reach agreement on a marine park for the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand.

The joint plan means an outcome is far more likely, although not guaranteed, while the future of a joint Australian-French plan for a 1.9 million sq kilometre marine park in East Antarctica also hangs in the balance.

The stand-off between the US and New Zealand had reached the highest levels, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushing for a resolution and New Zealand sending senior diplomat Gerard van Bohemen to the CCAMLR summit.

A final decision is expected late this week.

"We now have to get everyone else on board and that process has begun in earnest," US Ocean and Polar Affairs director Evan Bloom told The Australian.

New Zealand negotiator Carolyn Schwalger said the compromise with the US on the Ross Sea marine park would not reduce her country's $14 million a year toothfish harvest.

"None of the marine park area proposals are about reducing fishing; they are all about moving fishing into areas that will have less of a negative impact on the wider ecosystem," she said.

The two nations still appear divided on whether the giant marine park should have a sunset clause, beyond an agreed 10-year review.

CCAMLR delegates heard an emotional plea in favour of a Ross Sea marine reserve from the great, great, great granddaughter of 19th century explorer James Clark Ross, after whom the area is named.

Philippa Ross urged delegates to "show the same courage and resilience" as her forebear.

"This is your last chance to save the last ocean," she said.
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Postby rath » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:05 am

Antarctic marine park negotiations end in failure

1 November 2012.

Delegates at an international conference in Hobart have failed to agree on new reserves in Antarctic waters.

About 250 delegates representing 25 countries have been locked in talks at the meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

Australia wanted 1.9 million kilometres of Antarctica's east coast protected. France and the European Union had backed the proposal.

The Commission will reconsider the plan at a meeting in Germany next year.

After 11 days of intense talks, the meeting was dogged by conflicting demands, among them China's concern over restrictions to ocean resources.

The Antarctic Ocean Alliance and the World Wildlife Fund say they are disappointed a consensus could not be reached.

Protesters had staged an eleventh-hour vigil, where international negotiators face a deadline to agree on Antarctic marine protection.

Antarctic Ocean Alliance campaign manager Steve Campbell had said the failure to find consensus could impact on climate change research, sustainable fishing and wildlife.
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