Antarctica: The battle for dominance

Channel: Sky News
Published: 01/27/2020

It's been 200 years since the discovery of Antarctica but experts are warning climate change is threatening the continent. There are also other challenges: increasing tourism, illegal fishing and melting glaciers. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for more videos:

[ music, ] antarctica, a continent so far from any other landmass beyond the wild southern ocean that for a long time we didn't even know it existed. It was only two hundred years ago that humans finally laid eyes on it and it was on small wooden ships. Like this, when they sailed around cape horn, they fail sailed further and further south note he's been down there. All the were was on. The chart ...
was ice. That was that was it so he went actually off the charts. First came the whalers and sealers. Then the explorers like scott and shackleton and nations started to claim territory in the second world war, the british government launched a top-secret expedition to defend its territorial claims to the antarctic peninsula and beyond. Port lockroy was one of their bases and it still stands today. A reminder that, even here, the only continent that has never seen a war geopolitics still matter by the 1950s seven countries had claimed territories in antarctica, some of which overlapped it was a mess. The antarctic treaty sought to overcome it, ignored the land grabs and put peace and science. First now there are 30 countries with 82 research stations on the continent, but the science is also strategic.

The uk isn't alone in sending the military to help with the logistics. This hercules, flying over britain's main research base, had dropped supplies to remote field camps by parachute. Science has always been a proxy for geopolitics. Nothing'S changed so countries, for example, went to great lengths to put their antarctic stations all over antarctica and to raise national flags to say we're here, we're busy. This is ours. Climate change is going to continue to place pressures on the antarctic. It also means that countries like china are become increasingly dominant in demanding a voice about how antarctica is governed. After all, cities like shanghai, will bear the brunt of sea-level rise, but antarctica faces new challenges. In the 21st century, tourism is set to double pressure on fish stocks is increasing and there's always the risk of conflict spreading south the foreign office says science is crucial to keeping the peace. The reason we study it so hard is because the water that is going to melt from antarctica will arrive around the coast of the uk. We'Re not complacent till naive. The treaty is the best thing ever, but the evidence shows that most states feel that they're better off cooperating within the treaty to understand antarctica and have a say in how its governed than trying to go alone in the 200 years.

Since we've discovered antarctica. Humans have altered its climate, perhaps irreversibly the treaty protecting. It has never been so tested and never been so critical. Thomas, more sky news on the antarctic peninsula,.

Watch Next