Polar Continent’s Unique Treaty May Be Melting
Who owns Antarctica? That conundrum’s spurred an existential crisis for the 53-nation Antarctic Treaty. For nearly 60 years, the continent’s been harmoniously and multinationally governed. But now, with unprecedented pressures ranging from climate change to tourism to bio-prospecting, cracks are beginning to form. Those nations again failed, as they have for two decades, on key protocols like enforcement mechanisms at their annual summit this month. With the world’s largest freshwater reserves and untapped oil and gas resources, the race is on to protect — or exploit — the last unspoiled continent.