QUT media and communication lecturer Dr Christy Collis said that, with its massive resources of fresh water and unknown quantities of oil, Antarctica could be ripe for exploitation once resources in the rest of the world became scarcer.
Dr Collis said this issue was particularly important for Australia as it laid claim to 42 per cent of Antarctica, giving it ownership of 10 per cent of the world's available land.
Her claims coincide with this week's news that Britain is planning to claim sovereign rights over more than a million square kilometres of the territory.
Dr Collis is researching the cultural, legal and geopolitical aspects of Antarctica and said the treaty between 45 nations which governed the icy continent did not make the continent's future entirely stable or secure.
"So far, the Antarctic Treaty is a triumph of environmental protection and there is an unprecedented genuine shared goal to protect the environment," Dr Collis said.
"There's a moratorium on mining until 2048, but the issue is that, if someone started to mine in the Australian territory for example, what would happen?
"Would Australia act as a force to intervene, or would the Treaty as a whole somehow respond if there needed to be physical intervention?"
The Antarctic Treaty, which is contentious because the land claims it contains are not recognised by all nations, partitions ownership between Australia, Norway, Argentina, Chile, France, New Zealand and the UK.
"There are a lot of question marks around the future," she said. "I don't want to sound negative because ...legally, all that can be done is being done to protect Antarctica," she said.
"In the 1950s, India and more recently Malaysia suggested Antarctica be under UN jurisdiction but there was heavy resistance to that notion from claimants."
Dr Collis' research focuses on the cultural approaches to Antarctica by the seven nations which have colonised the continent. She said, as a Canadian who now lived in Australia, she was fascinated with the "mechanisms through which we got these huge tracts of land".
"Antarctica, the high seas, outer space and international shared spaces... for a long time we've divided the world into countries so I'm interested in how we think about these other spaces."
This year is the International Polar Year, which is the largest international research program in the polar regions.
Carmen Myler | EurekAlert!
Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology
22.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
How reliable are shells as climate archives?
21.06.2017 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Marine Tropenforschung (ZMT)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Life Sciences
23.06.2017 | Information Technology