The Ecologist

More articles about
Related Articles

Antarctic carve up begins

News, UN

31st January, 2008

The jostle is beginning for the Antarctic, a potentially lucrative source of oil, gas and tourism.

As previously reported the Arctic was subject to a land grab last year by Russia and Canada with Russia theatrically planting a flag on the sea bed to advertise its claim. By contrast Antarctica is forever designated for peaceful and scientific purposes under a 1959 treaty seen as a successful by product of the Cold War.

However the treaty is now being tested by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has set a deadline of May 2009 for most coastal states to map their continental shelves, aiming to define rights to seabed areas.

Argentina, Australia, Britain, Chile, France, New Zealand and Norway -- all close to Antarctica or with historical ties -- made claims before the treaty took effect. Moscow and Washington did not make claims but reserved the right to do so.

So far bids have been low key with only Australia and New Zealand claiming. The 1958 treaty does not allow for extending claims or making new ones. The process is difficult and so far has proved uncontroversial with the other claimants.

Although its deposits of oil, gas and minerals must remain undisturbed for now, Antarctica has other assets that countries are able to exploit.

Its tourism industry brings in almost 40,000 visitors a year and is set to increase. The battle for the last great wilderness has begun.


Previous Articles...


Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.

More information here...




Help us keep the Ecologist platform going

Since 2012, the Ecologist has been owned and published by a small UK-based charity called the Resurgence Trust. We work hard to support the kind of independent journalism and comment that we know Ecologist readers enjoy but we need your help to keep going. We do all this on a very small budget with a very small editorial team and so joining the Trust or making a donation will show us you value our work and support the platform which is currently offered as a free service.

Join The Resurgence TrustDonate to support the Resurgence Trust