Philippe Cousteau Urges Russia To Support Creation Of Antarctic Conservation Area In 2020


MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 11th August, 2020) Russia, as the pioneer country in the South Pole, should join the initiative of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) to create the world's largest sanctuary in Antarctica, environmental advocate Philippe Cousteau Jr., the grandson of renowned oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, told Sputnik in an interview.

The initiative envisages designating some 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) of Antarctic waters as a so-called marine protected area with strict regulations on pouching, fishing and drilling for fossil fuels.

"We are seeking that Russia, in particular, support the initiative in the year marking 200 years since the discovery of Antarctica. It will be a signal for the global community that even during the difficult times of the pandemic the humanity can unite around the preservation of resources for the future," Cousteau said.

The environmental advocate further voiced hope that Russia offer would its support to the initiative during the convention's meeting in October, adding that all other CCAMLR member-states but China have supported the creation of the Antarctic sanctuary.

According to Cousteau, only 6 percent of Antarctic seas are protected at the moment, and the creation of a protected area will help increase the figure to 10 percent. The international effort appears even more important at a time when climate change threatens the South Pole's biodiversity like never before, he argued.

"This year was one of the hottest in Antarctica, with the temperature reaching 20 degrees Celsius [68 degrees Fahrenheit]. Such weather is good for California, but not for the South Pole. We have a little daughter, and penguins will be extinct in Antarctica within her lifetime. May be some species will remain in Argentina, but those in Antarctica will be gone," Cousteau said.

The expert also denied that animals can be saved from the climate change effects by simple relocation to more favorable places temperature-wise, chiefly because of the disruption it would cause to ecosystems and food chains. For example, if a polar bear were to be relocated from the Arctic, where the global warming is twice as fast as elsewhere on the planet, to Antarctica, local animals would just not understand what animal is that and the bear will likely end up destroying Antarctica's ecosystem.