Opinion on China’s chances of rescuing Antarctic seals


Even when the United States and China face deep divisions, there is a global challenge that will simply not wait for our differences to be resolved: climate change.

Although some have decided that we are entering a new Cold War with China, we can still work together on key mutual interests. After all, even in the twentieth century. In the height of tension, the Americans and Soviets negotiated arms control agreements that were in the interests of both parties.

Climate change, like nuclear proliferation, is a self-created challenge that we are tackling. This month, we have the opportunity to make it clear that, despite the great competition, geopolitics must end at the water’s edge, the icy bottom of our planet in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the entire Antarctic continent.

The first post-World War II arms control agreement was Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959 In the heat of the Cold War – banned military activity, created a space without nuclear space, abolished territorial claims, and declared the continent a global common cause of peace and science. We now have the opportunity to expand this global community from land to sea.

China could make a powerful statement on climate leadership through three new marine parks that would not be allowed to fish or engage in other industrial activities, in the southern ocean waters of the eastern Antarctic, around the Antarctic Peninsula, and in the Mediterranean. Weddell Sea. In total, nearly four million square kilometers of protected oceans, about one and a half million square miles, would be a refuge where wildlife could adapt to warming and acidifying seas, and one of the largest environmental acts in history.

Post-study research shows that one of the best ways to protect and conserve marine biodiversity is to declare protected areas in parts of the ocean by removing stresses such as fishing and other industrial activities, which in turn helps ecosystems to develop resilience to a changing climate.

The Southern Ocean not only promotes life, but also helps regulate the global climate by promoting ocean circulation, which is rich in oxygenated waters and nutrients that support marine life and fisheries in much of the world’s oceans. One of the foundations of the Antarctic ecosystem, krill, is the food source of this ecosystem and, during its life cycle, also helps to remove 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere each year, evenly producing 35 million greenhouse gases a year. cars.

However, Antarctica is one of the most likely warming places on the planet, which will have consequences both in and out of the icy water. Month of January heat wave was first reported hit the seventh continent in East Antarctica, where a few months later a dissolves a hot spot was found under the Shiraz Glacier. Recently, scientists have revealed this 60 percent of Antarctic ice shelves threatened by fractures, losses will lead to catastrophic sea level rise in coastal cities and devastating the South Ocean ecosystem.

We already have a project that can help reduce the harmful effects on marine ecosystems. Four years ago Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), the body responsible for managing the Southern Ocean, has created the world ‘s largest marine protected area in the Ross Sea – a huge deep bay off Antarctica, considered the southernmost sea in the Earth. The move united allies, rivals and opponents, including the US, Russia and China, to demonstrate that, despite political tensions in other parts of the world, Antarctica remains a global world dedicated to peace, science and conservation.

In preparation for 2016 For the agreement, I worked closely with my colleagues in China. 2012 The Chinese government has enshrined the concept of “ecological civilization” in its constitution, and President Xi Jinping said the economy and the environment are directly linked.

We have already established joint cooperation on climate change, with President Barack Obama and President Xi announcing each country’s emissions reduction ambitions ahead of the Paris Climate Agreement, breaking a decades-long logic. China is increasingly advocating for climate change at home and abroad.

Today, the world is once again watching our two countries on this issue – with a certain skepticism. We now have the opportunity to go further and join a new innovative initiative that dispels doubts about the global commitment to addressing ocean-based climate solutions. The government is meeting in a commission on new marine protected areas in Antarctica, and progress depends on China deciding to join the 24 countries and the European Union that already support the approval. The Commission is working by consensus and all members must agree to stop fishing in these designated areas in order to make the new marine parks a reality. The rest of the southern ocean remains open to regulated fishing activities.

Now is not the time to question global environmental commitments or reduce the role of multilateral platforms as a basis for global, science-based cooperation.

China has every opportunity to make this achievement a reality. Despite our differences, success would belong to all nations, but most importantly, it would be a success for future generations who hope to secure victory against climate change on their behalf.

John F. Kerry from 2013 to 2017 He served as U.S. Secretary of State in the Obama administration, and in 1985. – 2013 He was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.

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