The Antarctic Treaty System and the Anthropocene

The Polar Journal, Vol 8. No. 1, 2018 Forthcoming

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/22

29 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2018

See all articles by Tim Stephens

Tim Stephens

The University of Sydney Law School

Date Written: April 19, 2018

Abstract

Despite Antarctica’s isolation, the Anthropocene’s signature is inscribed deeply there, from the ozone hole etched in the southern sky to the cleaving of the ice shelves into the Southern Ocean. The Antarctic Treaty sought to quarantine Antarctica from the nuclear technologies that heralded the advent of the Anthropocene, and the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) is imbued with a romantic environmental ideal of Antarctica as a pristine wilderness that needs only to be left alone to be protected. But in the Anthropocene it is the global forces let loose by human hands that are transforming Antarctica, rather than any activities on the continent itself. What does this mean for our legal imaginings of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean? What might an ATS that understands and responds to the challenges of the Anthropocene look like?

Keywords: Antarctica, Antarctic Treaty System, Anthropocene, international regimes

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K33, Q54, Q57

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Tim, The Antarctic Treaty System and the Anthropocene (April 19, 2018). The Polar Journal, Vol 8. No. 1, 2018 Forthcoming ; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 18/22. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3165816

Tim Stephens (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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