Friday, August 12, 2011

Australia urged to stake claim in Antarctica

ABC News (Australia): An expert says Australia needs to increase its presence in Antarctica so it can have a say in what happens to the frozen continent's resources. Australia claims sovereignty over almost half of it, with Argentina and Chile dividing the rest, though that claim is not internationally recognised.

In fact, most of the stations on Australia's claimed territory belong to other major powers like China and Russia. That is a problem, according to a new policy paper from the Lowy Institute, because Antarctica is also thought to have the world's third-largest oil reserves.

Global competition for these resources is considered inevitable once the treaty forbidding resource exploitation runs out in 2048.

Rory Medcalf, director of the International Security Program at the Lowy Institute, says powerful countries are taking more interest in Antarctica's resource potential. "We've seen activity in the Arctic in recent years, particularly from Russia, China, Canada," he said. "The question is beginning to rise: what about the resource potential of Antarctica? This is many years off in terms of exploitation, but preparations seem to be beginning to get underway now."...

Mount Erebus in Antarctica, shot by Hannes Grobe, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Germany, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license

No comments: