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Taking a Precautionary Approach to Climate Mitigation Measures in the Southern Ocean

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-16, 23:02 authored by Mayo-Ramsay, JP
The Southern Ocean waters around Antarctica provide a unique environment in a complex marine ecosystem. One of the consequences of global warming is the rise in ocean temperature from the increased absorption of anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO:) by the oceans, which may have an impact on the biodiversity within this system.' For over ten years fertilising the ocean with iron has been trailed in high nutrient low chlorophyll (HNLC) areas of the Southern Ocean in order to stimulate phytoplankton growth and the subsequent drawdown of CO: into the ocean. Before ocean fertilisation can, however, be safely considered as a viable mitigating measure for climate change there needs to be reliable measures in place to ensure there is no irreversible damage to the marine environment. The precautionary principle is one tool that has been used as a form of customary law to protect the environment in light of scientific uncertainty. Application of the principle, does however, require scientists and law-makers to work closely together in order to develop suitable guidelines along with an ecosystem monitoring program to effectively detect and manage impact on species before there is irreversible damage to the Antarctic marine ecosystem.


Publication title

Antarctic and Southern Ocean Law and Policy Occasional Papers 12






Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Faculty of Law, UTAS

Place of publication

Faculty of Law, UTAS

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

International relations not elsewhere classified

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