Showing posts with label south pole. Show all posts
Showing posts with label south pole. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

China at the South Pole

China is boosting its presence in Antarctica with an eye on the icy continent’s vast untapped resources, even though it could take 35 years to start exploiting them. Antarctic Treaty members, which include China, have agreed not to exploit Antarctic resources until 2048, but there is nothing to stop them doing geographical surveys.  China already has as many permanent research stations as the U.S. in Antarctica — including the Great Wall Station on King George Island off the Antarctic Peninsula, Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) Station in the east and Kunlun Station in the interior. Now the Chinese appear poised to start work on a fourth station close to the main U.S. base — McMurdo Station — in a part of Antarctica known as the Ross Dependency that is administered by New Zealand.

 Anne-Marie Brady, a political science professor at New Zealand’s Canterbury University and editor of The Polar Journal, wrote in a recently published research paper that China is clearly interested in Antarctic resources, which range from minerals to meteorites, intellectual property from bio-prospecting, locations for scientific bases, fisheries and tourism access. “As an energy-hungry nation, China is extremely interested in the resources of Antarctica (and the Arctic) and any possibilities for their exploitation,” Brady wrote. Chinese-language polar social science discussions are dominated by debates about Antarctic resources and how China might gain its share, she wrote. “Such discussions are virtually taboo in the scholarly research of more established Antarctic powers,” she wrote. Numerous newspaper reports in Chinese have alleged that some countries are already prospecting in Antarctica under the cover of scientific research, Brady said. In Chinese-language debates, scholars, government officials and journalists appear to agree that the exploitation of Antarctica is only a matter of time and that China be ready, she said.

Texas A&M University oceanographer and Antarctic researcher Chuck Kennicutt II said it would be expensive to recover oil and gas from Antarctica but that a spike in oil prices could make it economically viable.

 The increased Antarctic research activity by developing nations is partly driven by interest in the Arctic, which could soon be ice-free in summer, Kennicutt said. Many nations, not just those with northern territories, are interested in the economic and security potential of northeast and northwest passages, he said. “It is not just economic but also in regard to the whole balance of power and the military implications in terms of national security and homeland security,” he said.

In January, The Associated Press reported that the icebreaker Xuelong (Snow Dragon) had become the first Chinese vessel to cross the Arctic Ocean. According to the state-controlled China Daily newspaper, China will launch its second icebreaker in 2014. In summer, Arctic shipping routes between China and Europe are 40 percent faster than those through the Indian Ocean, Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Who Owns the SOUTH Pole

A switch from our usual pole.

  No one owns Antarctica, although a few countries persist in maintaining their frozen claims to slices of the continent for research and scientific purposes in line with the Antarctic Treaty. In reality, the international community is responsible for the region, operating through the Antarctic Treaty and its related agreements. The International Maritime Organization (IMO), the UN body responsible for regulating shipping internationally, designated the Southern Ocean as a "special area"

Many parts of Antarctica have been coming under increasing pressure as the growing global demand for sea food means the region's rich resources are increasingly targeted. There are fishing boats, both legal and illegal, including a new breed that vacuum krill from the sea. 

The United States and New Zealand put forward competing plans to create a marine protected area of 1.6 million square kilometres in the Ross Sea. Another proposal would have created a reserve zone around East Antarctica - At around 1.9 million square kilometres, it would have covered an area almost three times the size of France.

For the past two weeks the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, made up of representatives from 24 governments and the European Union, has been meeting in Australia and has failed to reach agreement on new marine protected areas for the Antarctic ocean. They have deferred a decision until July 2013. Environmental groups blame Russia, China and Ukraine for blocking agreement.

"There are competing interests, in terms of commercial interests and in terms of the economic control of these areas"
Steve Campbell of the Antarctic Ocean Alliance stated.

As long as power and money rule our lives the planet will never stand a chance! We talk about protecting the planet but what does that mean? Governments are more interested in protecting what share holders make. The bottom line is profits. As long as we continue to think that profits are more important than our future, the condition of this planet will get so bad it will be too late to save it.