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The Antarctic Treaty

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Antarctica In 1738 it was established that Antarctica was a continent and not just a group of islands. Antarctica is located mostly south on the Antarctic Circle with an area of 14 million sq. km in total; it is larger than Australia and Europe making it the fifth largest continent but it has no native population. There is no arable land, permanent crops, pastures, forest or woodland. Antarctica is about 98% thick continental ice and about 2% barren rock, with average elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 metres. Mountain ranges up to 5.140 metres. Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest (on average) and driest continent. During summer more solar radiation reaches the surface at the South Pole than received at the equator in an equivalent period. It is home to many fish, birds and wildlife. During 1990 and 1991 much discussion took place over the future of Antarctica. Greenpeace launched the idea that Antarctica should become a World Park. This would mean that there would never be any mining in the future- although this could be permitted if the method of extracting minerals without causing environmental damage was discovered. Greenpeace also wanted the United Nations, not just a group of interested countries, to take responsibility for the continent. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska many countries who had no signed the original Treaty in 1961 decided that there should be no mining in Antarctica. ...read more.


The Environmental Protocol also established the Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP) to facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between nations about environmental issues in Antarctica and to provide expert advice to the annual Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCM).The regulations set out in the Environmental Protocol are compulsory and legally binding on all of the signatory Parties. Antarctica is a vast outdoor laboratory with scientists from all over the world searching to unlock the secrets of the world's past and defect early signs of global pollution. Locked within the continent is two thirds of the world's fresh water in the form of ice. Beneath its surface the scientists are discovering a wealth of minerals such as oil, coal, copper, lead, zinc, mercury, cadmium and silver. Around its shores the seas abound with fish, birds and animal life. Investigations are also taking place in Antarctica into the Greenpeace Effect. This is caused by carbon dioxide and other gases absorbing intra-red radiation which leads to a rise in temperature of the atmosphere as more and more greenhouse gases are released from chimneys and car exhausts. Analysis of the bubbles in the Antarctic of the bubbles in the Antarctic ice cores indicate that levels of carbon dioxide have increased by 25% since 1850. The warming caused by the Greenhouse Effect could mean the melting of the ice, a rise in sea level and catastrophic effects in some low-lying countries. ...read more.


They say that they will control their catches if everyone else does. The mining company's views are that there are many minerals that have been discovered in Antarctica, and many areas still have not been explored. They believe valuable resources will be found and they should be able to mine them. They will try and ensure that little damage is made to the environment. They believe that politicians should make plans for Antarctica that allow minerals to be mined. Oil companies say that drilling in the 1970's found signs of oil off the Antarctic. Many oil companies are interested in the area. They understand the need to conserve the environment. But they say the industry has a good record of concern about the environment as well. The oil supplies they have now will not last forever, they need new ones. They believe they should be allowed to drill for oil in the Antarctic. From all this information about the aims of the Antarctic Treaty and the Treats facing the Antarctic my recommendations are that the Treaty should not be lifted and the countries involved should form a government for inform laws to stop activities such as whaling, mining, make people clean up after themselves, and enforce the Antarctic Treaty as a law. As this is the only way people will follow the aims. But I also think that there is a limited amount of oil left in the world and eventually oil mining will have to be done in the Antarctica. ...read more.

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