Onus on Australia to take diplomatic initiative in protecting Antarctica

This article originally appeared in The Guardian on 8 July 2017.

Photograph: John Weller/Antarctic Ocean Alliance
Shortly before World Ocean Day, and a special UN meeting to address threats facing oceans, the US president, Donald Trump, announced that the country was walking away from the Paris agreement. Here in Australia, there was a welcome bipartisan commitment to stay the course, with Malcolm Turnbull defending Australia’s participation in this critically important environmental pact.
But Australia’s environmental diplomacy needs to be more than just defensive. Taking a cue from French president Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to “make the planet great again” by determined leadership on climate action, Australia should likewise move on to the front foot. And one place where it can make a big contribution is in its own backyard – Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

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