Elizabeth Buchanan on How to Extend Australia’s Antarctic Influence
“The government should not only approve the Davis runway quickly … but must also develop a plan to use it to Australia’s advantage.”
THE PROBLEM: Antarctica is the world’s final frontier, a resource-rich territory of immense strategic value. Access to the continent and its assets have been “frozen” in a geopolitical holding pattern by the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), which consists of various treaties that govern environmental and natural resource issues as well as scientific and research activity. The ATS shelves the question of sovereignty in favour of international cooperation in scientific endeavour. But the ATS is under pressure. Climate change, resource insecurity and renewed great-power competition are unveiling weaknesses in the system and leaving it ripe for manipulation.