A POLE APART: The Emerging Issue of Antarctica by Philip W. Quigg

A POLE APART: The Emerging Issue of Antarctica

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A meticulous yet pointed study--aptly titled too--that combines essential information with a host of unsuspected implications. Quigg, a foreign-affairs expert with an interest in environmental matters, lays out this situation: Under the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, military activity has been banned and territorial claims have been postponed--while scientific research has proceeded without impediment: a rare instance of cooperation among the US, the USSR, and other antagonistic nations. But the prospect of resources-exploitation now poses new questions--environmental, economic, and political. If the superabundant krill are harvested, will the resurging whale stocks suffer? Does the treaty system itself benefit the haves, and penalize the have-nots? Is Antarctica analogous with the open sea? with outer space? Quigg notes that Antarctica, unlike the Arctic, ""is an ice-encased continent surrounded by comparatively warm water""--hence the available and not-so-available resources. He describes the findings of scientific research. ""Nowhere was nuclear power anticipated with greater optimism than in Antarctica, and nowhere was its failure more convincing."" Crucially, he evaluates Antarctic resources: oil--and the feasibility of extracting it; hard minerals--nigh impossible to get out; icebergs as a source of fresh water; even tourism. And he weighs the prospects of agreeing upon ground rules once exploitation begins.

Pub Date: Nov. 29th, 1982
Publisher: McGraw-Hill