Onus on Australia to take diplomatic initiative in protecting Antarctica

Onus on Australia to take diplomatic initiative in protecting Antarctica

Onus on Australia to take diplomatic initiative in protecting Antarctica

Shortly before World Ocean Day and a special UN meeting to address the threats facing the oceans, US President Donald Trump announced that the country was withdrawing from the Paris agreement.

Here in Australia, there was a bipartisan welcome to take on the supposed commitment Malcolm Turnbull uphold Australia’s involvement in this very important environmental pact.

But Australia’s environmental diplomacy must be more than defense. Speaking about the commitment of French President Emmanuel Macron to “revive the planet” by a certain direction in the climatic action, Australia should also go to the front of the foot.

And where you can make a great contribution is in your own backyard – Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Antarctica and its surrounding seas are experiencing deep physical and ecological pressure due to climate change and ocean acidification.

Last week, scientists reported a major melting event on the surface of the Ross ice shelf in 2016 over an area of ​​800,000 km2, larger than Texas.

Aerial images of the division on the Larsen C ice shelf taken at the beginning of the year.
Antarctic ice shelves also then melt and begin to break and disintegrate.

The Larsen C ice shelf, a significant extension of the West Antarctic ice sheet, is the latest to show startling signs of collapse, with great failure to quickly “undo” most of the front ice shelf. The breeding of the platform is only a matter of time.

States that manage Antarctica and the Southern Ocean have powerful tools at hand to give them the best possible ecosystems opportunity to adapt to ongoing physical changes in Antarctica while governments worldwide are facing the climate crisis.

These tools include marine protected areas, where they are prohibited or restricted to protect ecosystems and fishing species. Science is clear that marine reserves can mitigate climate change and help ecosystems adapt to changes in temperature, chemistry and water movement.

AMP will help strengthen ecosystem resilience, provide shelters for marine species and can also protect carbon deposits or wells (‘blue carbon’).

In 2016, a stagnation of more than five years was broken when the AMP in the Ross Sea, the largest marine reserve in the world, was created by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Antarctic Marine Life.

CCAMLR is the international body established under the Antarctic Treaty system with a specific mandate to protect the ecosystem of the Southern Ocean.

Australia is right, a world leader in protecting the reputation of the Antarctic environment. However, our country needs to intensify its diplomacy, especially if it is to obtain the designation of the representative system for the marine protected areas of Eastern Antarctica, a joint initiative of Australia, France and the European Union.

The proposal was developed in 2010 on the basis of extensive scientific research. But since then, it has gained no consensus within CCAMLR. Successive revisions were made to the proposal to be acceptable to the parties to CCAMLR.

The MPA of Eastern Antarctica is already smaller than initially proposed, including three zones instead of seven. Also continue to deal, is the strength of the protections in the MPA.

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