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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 35 (2012) 384 – 388
AicE-Bs 2011 Famagusta Asia Pacific International Conference on Environment-Behaviour Studies, Salamis Bay Conti Resort Hotel, Famagusta, North Cyprus, 7-9 December 2011
“Scientists Paradise”: Environmental Sustainability and Policy Governance
Rohani Mohd Shah* and Rugayah Hashim
Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam,Selangor Malaysia
Abstract There is a scientific consensus that global warming is due to human-induced activities and this effected the pristine environment of Antarctica. The past 40 years have seen a tremendous increase in scientists’ activities across the Antarctic continent and without proper supervisory policy the impact of urbanization will soon follows. Even when the Antarctic Treaty and the Madrid Protocol 1991 dictates scientists conducts still it does not guarantees perfect preservation of the environment. The study is significant to assist the formulation of national legislation in adapting to the procedure for protecting Antarctica environment at the same time protecting the freedom of scientific activities. © 2012 Published byby Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment© 2011 Published Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Centre for EnvironmentBehaviour Studies(cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning && Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia Behaviour Studies (cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
Keywords: Antarctic Treaty System; Madrid Protocol 1991; global warming; environmental sustainability; policy governance.
1. Introduction Prior to 1990 the conflict over the future of Antarctica encapsulates many of the key issues of how Antarctica's environment can best be protected. Several environmental organizations argue that mineral exploration should be banned from Antarctica because of the continent's significance as one of the last undisturbed areas on the earth's surface. Preserving the natural state of Antarctica could benefit humankind. Later, scientists begun to understand Antarctica's importance in stabilizing the global environment. The Antarctic atmosphere serves as a global heat sink, drawing warm air from other
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1877-0428 © 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Centre for Environment-Behaviour Studies(cE-Bs), Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.02.102
An oil spill can destroy the local ecosystem. Antarctica is one of the last remaining wilderness areas on earth. Furthermore. The Principle of international law specificly dictates that each sovereignt state has an international duties to protect the environment of another States. or to any areas outside its national jurisdiction. did not suppressed the desire for nations to study certain areas for potential economic activity.Social and Behavioral Sciences 35 (2012) 384 – 388 385 continents and thus keeping the Earth’s tempreature cooler than they otherwise would be. but. Second. Application of International Law on Antarctica Since Antarctica's legal status is controversial because it is unclear whether claims of sovereignty in Antarctica are valid. then those nations with . Lots of discussion between scientists and governments took placed. an increase in pollution through drilling. Hence. more stringent legal regime is needed and it must be a proposal that is workable to protect the Antarctic environment from any exploitation and exploration of mineral resources. The second duty calls upon the states to cooperate in the duty of preventing and abating international pollution. those impacts would be considered a violation of the international duty to prevent environmental degradation of common areas. an accepted fact that the Antarctica’s pristine environment is a common heritage of mankinds and should be maintain at it’s best. or whether the continent is outside of any sovereign's jurisdiction. Antarctica is important to scientists. Spilled oil will be difficult to clean up. If Antarctica is not an international commons. with this scientific discovery.1. It is difficult to imagine any oil regime that would not destroy the fragile Antarctic ecosystem. Significance of Antarctica The integrity of the Antarctic environment is important for at least three reasons. Because exploring for oil in Antarctica necessarily would involve detrimental environmental impacts. Therefore it is impossible to predict all the difficulties that will be encountered. If there is no law applicable to the cold continent. however. The fact that Antarctica plays a major role in regulating the global climate made caused scientists to fear that a rise in particulate matter caused by pollution associated with oil and mineral development could alter the ability of Antarctica's ice cap to reflect the sun's heat. Offshore oil drilling may not yet be possible in the harsh Antarctic environment. and this law does apply to Antarctica in the same way they do in any other continent (Akenhust. If Antarctica's importance was not immediately apparent then. The recovery rate on land is also slow. mining.2. then mineral activities there would be governed by international law. and oil excavations will ruin Antarctica as a global laboratory for monitoring worldwide pollution levels.Rohani Mohd Shah and Rugayah Hashim / Procedia . Therefore. since the Antarctica Treaty was signed." This agreement. is the to duty prohibits international environmental interference and to prevents any state from causing harmful consequences to the environment of other states. First. Antarctica has been functioning in a legal "twilight zone" between an international commons and state sovereignty. it plays a major role in stabilizing the planetary environment. oil operators were to use perfect technology. notion of understanding that Antarctica is free twilight zone is rebutted by a common principle of international law . exploiters of mineral resources like to belive that they are free to exploit the untamed continent. 1. for the future generation. thus causing the atmosphere to warm. it is now. Even if. then mineral extraction can be done by any interested nation and capable nations. Even if Antarctica is considered an international commons. 1. Finally. The scientists and policy makers agreed to "urge their claimant nationals and other interested States to refrain from all exploration and exploitation of Antarctic mineral resources while making progress towards the timely adoption of an agreed regime concerning Antarctic mineral resource activities. This. 2000). accidents still could result from human error. The past fifty years. any mineral exploitation in Antarctica will result in significant environmental impacts. Among these duties.
the Treaty parties agreed that "Antarctica shall be used for peaceful purposes only. Although in Article VIII it permits any member of the United Nations to accede to the treaty by ratifying it. Article II of the Treaty states that freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation shall continue." and they banned "any measures of a military nature. Nevertheless.386 Rohani Mohd Shah and Rugayah Hashim / Procedia . The Treaty applies to the area south of sixty degrees latitude. Antarctica Treaty 1959 The scientists realized the importance of preserving the pristine and relatively untouched region of the Antarctic environment. Since the Treaty was incorporated all the parties that have had contact with Antarctica during the past years have shown their allegiance to the Treaty. by drawing up legal protective measures long before such issues became an international argument. Therefore claimant states on Antarctica’s jurisdiction are also bound by the common international law duty. Under the language of the Treaty. In recent years. To ensure friendly relations. Nevertheless. ‘if nobody benefits. therefore. a nation must be wealthy enough to undertake a scientific research program. Currently thirty-nine nations have acceded. members are required to refrain from actions that could endanger the Antarctic environment without extensive prior study. The Antarctic Treaty 1959 protects the continent as a research preserve with nations freely exchanging scientific information. Antarctica is host to some fifty science stations operated by twenty-one different countries. this latter view is rejected by international law and international community. Additionally. but not to the areas of high seas. any nation that drilled for oil would be violating international law. the United States' McMurdo Station. The Antarctic Treaty peacefully coordinated all the nations with interests in Antarctica. and observations. As a result. The lack of any enforcement provisions in the Treaty can result in significant environmental damage before any international pressure is exerted. it is likely that the Treaty has been enveloped by international law and the rules adopted as an international custom. of which twenty-two are Consultative Parties. including ice shelves. Moreover. where the rights of international law controls. personnel. Antarctica offers scientists ideal opportunities to study global environmental problems. Antarctica's importance as a scientific laboratory was recognized officially by the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959. First some observers contend that the Treaty creates an exclusive club giving the wealthier nations control over Antarctica. The Treaty's most impressive achievement has been its durability in calling for recommendation from government participation." The Treaty provides for the free exchange of scientific information. and global levels of atmospheric constituents such as ozone. is a strong argument for preserving the Antarctic wilderness and its role as a scientific laboratory of the world. A second weakness is the Treaty System's lack of enforcement mechanisms. it is difficult to determine which nations are responsible for environmental problems. then we all benefit’. Because the Treaty ignores territorial claims. the Consultative Parties of the Treaty persuaded by scientists created a new regime known as the Antarctic Protocol on Environmental Protection or simply as . Consultative Parties have been hesitant to criticize each other's environmental records. a nation cannot become a voting member of the Treaty (a Consultative Party) unless it engages in substantial scientific research activity. Throughout the same period. to become a Consultative Party. 2. Antarctica's importance as a scientific laboratory increased due to greater awareness of these problems. The largest such station. Unfortunately. Their suggestion that. the Treaty members acknowledged that no clear mechanism for environmental protection does existed. all scientific research is supposed to be shared. it has several significant weaknesses. including sealevel change.Social and Behavioral Sciences 35 (2012) 384 – 388 Antarctic claims may assert that international law does not apply because they are operating inside their own jurisdiction. global climate. is home to approximately 1200 scientists during the summer months.
the environment has been of primary concern. what happen after that fifty years expired.Social and Behavioral Sciences 35 (2012) 384 – 388 387 the Madrid protocol 1991. they are not legally bound to preserve Antarctica's environment. constant vigilance is essential. Conclusion Since the inception of the Antarctic Treaty. contains weaknesses and allows nations to withdraw from the moratorium after sufficient notice is given. The agreement. are still eager to explore for the possible wealth that may lie beneath Antarctica's icecap and along its extensive coastline.Rohani Mohd Shah and Rugayah Hashim / Procedia . Although rigorous application of the Protocol will help minimize the local impacts of both the tourism industry and national operators. The important discussions are summerised here. the best legal measure to prevent and to preserve is by way of enforcement which in this Protocol is not favoured at all. as law is evolving and therefore the scientists may one day need to call upon Antarctica to provide future energy and resource materials to guarantess human survival. The protocol is silent on who is responsible to bore the cause of cleaning up or reparing if any accident occurs. this is Scientists may want to exercise their diplomacy in persuading policy makers to leaves their heaven aside but the policy makers may want to argue back that if heaven is not shared then peaceful purpose of Antarctica may not be heavenly utilised. A major weakness in the Protocol is that it fails to provide a legal mechanism to prevent nations who are not bound by the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty or the Protocol from placing oil rigs off the region's coast. . Furthermore the issue of liability should an environmental accident occur by the fault of one of the Parties. may commence drilling at any time. In law. the Protocol provides numerous measures and guidelines that are intended to protect the pristine and fragile environment that is unique to Antarctica according to scientist’s preception of protective measures – that is through self-policing methods. and therefore. They could argue that by not being a member of the Protocol. Many nations whom are Parties to the Protocol and many more who are not. The Protocol is to be in effect for at least the next fifty years but the interpretations of its provisions may change in the future. The Parties should begin formulating a minerals regime that will satisfy both the region's environmental concerns and the world's needs for resources while the rest of the nations whether parties to the legal regime or not should start drafting their own law or amend their local law to be in line with the desire to adhere to legal measures dictates in the Madrid Protocal. The recent agreement to adopt an Environmental Protocol which includes a fifty year mining moratorium for the Antarctic Treaty area the evidence. 3. however. In addition. The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (The Madrid Protocol) 1991 The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty provides strict guidelines for the protection of the Antarctic environment and underscores its value to scientific research. 4. and scientific activities. Its Conservation measures focus on achieving a better knowledge of the structure and functioning of Antarctic ecosystems and the longterm effects of persistent contaminants in Antarctic organisms and food chains. This main question discuss how effective the new Protocol could affect the Antarctic environmet for the next fifty year period in dealing with the nagging issues of mining for resources in Antarctica. The Protocol has a walkout clause which could subject the continent and surrounding area to mineral exploitation after five years notice has been given by the members. The environmental Protocol promises to ensure a fifty year moratorium on all mining and oil exploration in the Antarctic region. a new legal measures that could enforce international environmental laws effectively. is dealt with vaguely in the Protocol.
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