Global climate change and the Antarctic Treaty system since 2000.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Global climate change is increasingly being recognised as key issue in the 21st century – and one that it intimately entwined with the Antarctic. This paper reviews global climate change discussion and science inside the context of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), and particularly the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs), since 2000.1 It is hoped that this review may highlight several aspects: firstly, document the development of scientific evidence for global climate change; secondly, trace the broader acceptance of global climate change inside the ATS; and thirdly observe the ATS bodies and members in researching and managing climate change. To achieve these goals, the analysis reviews papers submitted to the annual ATCMs either as working papers or information papers since the year 2000. This method provides a number of advantages: firstly, selecting papers from this source serves as a filter. It is expected that information provided to the ATCMs are of significantly scientifically robust and represent the best thinking on climate change at the time; secondly, there is significant scope within this forum for adequate criticism of the papers; and thirdly, the meetings occur annually which provides opportunity to track the progression of scientific understanding as well as the broader acceptance of climate change in the ATS. Additionally, to further develop the growth in scientific understanding of climate change, the paper draws on scientific papers that are referenced in ATCM documents. The paper opens by briefly introducing the Antarctica Treaty System so as to provide context for the ATCMs. Having made this introduction, the paper recaps global climate change understanding at the turn of the millennium before tracing developments in scientific knowledge and understanding to the present. The paper concludes by presenting key areas of current research around the International Polar Year (IPY) and noting trends within the ATS over the period of analysis.
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