"Australia’s international reputation and diplomatic influence will be damaged
unless the federal government intervenes to ensure crucial climate change
research in Antarctica is not cancelled, international lawyers and
environmentalists have warned.
The environment minister, Tanya Plibersek, is also facing political pressure
from the Greens and the Coalition, which have both raised concerns about plans
to cancel or heavily restrict studies of record-low sea ice, ice shelves and
declining penguin populations due to a budget crunch.
On Tuesday, Guardian Australia
revealed dozens of projects were on the
chopping block as the Australian Antarctic Division scrambles to make $25m of
savings in 12 months to meet its existing budget.
An internal document also reveals the “cleaner Antarctica program” will not
operate due to budget constraints. The program, described as “a flagship
science project” that would “enhance Australia’s scientific and environmental
leadership”, remediates the damage caused by human activity, including diesel
Donald Rothwell, a professor of international law at the Australian National
University who specialises in the Antarctic treaty system, said the
international community would be watching the Australian government’s response
“At the moment there is, unfortunately, a science, logistics and influence race
under way in Antarctica,” Rothwell said.
“We need to be constantly mindful of the fact that other nations are watching
what we do – and what we do now, in 2023, can have implications for our status
and our standing down the track. Great care and caution needs to be taken.”"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics