Today Secretary Clinton addressed the first joint session of the Arctic Council and the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting and recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty. Secretary Clinton said:“The genius of the Antarctic Treaty lies in its relevance today. It was written to meet the challenges of an earlier time, but it and its related instruments remain a key tool in our efforts to address an urgent threat of this time, climate change, which has already destabilized communities on every continent, endangered plant and animal species, and jeopardized critical food and water sources.
Climate change is shaping the future of our planets and – our planet in ways we are still striving to understand. But the research made possible within the framework of the Antarctic Treaty has shown us that catastrophic consequences await if we don’t take action soon. The framers of the treaty may not have foreseen exactly the shape of climate change, but their agreement allowed scientists to model its effects, including glaciologists studying the dynamics of ice, biologists exploring the effects of harsh temperatures on living organisms, geophysicists like those who discovered the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica that prompted the ban embodied in the 1987 Montreal Protocol. Today, the hole above the Antarctica is starting to close, thanks to the world’s response to this discovery.
So the treaty is a blueprint for the kind of international cooperation that will be needed more and more to address the challenges of the 21st century, and it is an example of smart power at its best. Governments coming together around a common interest and citizens, scientists, and institutions from different countries joined in scientific collaboration to advance peace and understanding.”
Read the Secretary’s remarks here.