Antarctica has been a site of peace and scientific exploration for the last fifty years, largely due to a series of agreements known collectively as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS). But the continent is not free from potential conflicts. A key compromise for ATS parties was the “freezing” of various countries’ territorial claims. However, these territorial claims did not go away, but merely remained hidden beneath the surface of future policies. The author argues that continued suppression of these claims will not further ATS party goals for Antarctica: peace, no military activity, and scientific inquiry. Since many countries rely on oil for their energy needs, Antarctica may become more desirable for commercial exploitation if current sources become too expensive. Therefore, latent territorial claims could seriously undermine continued compromise by ATS parties. Regrettably and unnecessarily, the environment, scientific advances, and international peace would all be placed at great risk.
Antarctica’s Frozen Territorial Claims: A Meltdown Proposal,
B.C. Int'l & Comp. L. Rev.