Increasing Environmental Vigilance Could Chill Research In Antarctica

Polar scientists worry that new international interests might threaten their ability to do good science in the future The ability of polar scientists to do research may be jeopardized by the political winds swirling around the world's last frontier, say Antarctic science veterans. For most of the past three decades, scientists dominated the setting of policy in Antarctica. But researchers are worried that the current discussions about Antarctica's future could threaten the basic tenets of the

Elizabeth Pennisi
Mar 17, 1991
Polar scientists worry that new international interests might threaten their ability to do good science in the future

The ability of polar scientists to do research may be jeopardized by the political winds swirling around the world's last frontier, say Antarctic science veterans.

For most of the past three decades, scientists dominated the setting of policy in Antarctica. But researchers are worried that the current discussions about Antarctica's future could threaten the basic tenets of the 30-year-old Antarctic Treaty, which guarantees scientific freedom (see story on page 6).

History shows that science once was the driving force behind Antarctic policies. But the present state of affairs suggests that the role of science is diminishing.

In 1959, one year after the International Geophysical Year opened this icy frontier to science, the Antarctic Treaty was written by the dozen nations involved in that research. Ratified two years later, it established Antarctica as...

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