经济学人:南极洲 核心价值
日期:2015-03-17 15:58



Core values
The southern continent hots up
ANTARCTICA is 2,700km away. Yet as the brief austral summer fades, for Hobart, the capital of the Australian state of Tasmania, it is big business. The town is home to the Australian government's Antarctic Division and France's Antarctic programme. The two countries' ageing icebreakers are busy supplying their research stations. Australia is trying out a new research and supply vessel, which dwarfs its part of the harbour.

In early January the Falkor, a research vessel funded by Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google (and a member of The Economist's board), steamed into Hobart. Its research budget would quicken the pulse of any ocean scientist, and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania threw a party for the crew. Among other topics, the institute's researchers are studying why the Earth is warming more slowly than models predict. One reason could be the cold Southern Ocean, a powerful climate regulator.
Though there are (disputed) territorial claims, the 1959 Antarctic Treaty sets Antarctica aside as a scientific reserve. States assert themselves by building bases and planting flagpoles. The dozen original signatories have swelled to 50, including India and South Korea. China, which signed up in 1983, has the fastest-growing presence. Some 350 features now have Chinese place-names (there is even a Great Wall).
China's annual Antarctic spending has grown from $20m to $55m in a decade, and it has five bases. Its Ukrainian-built icebreaker, the Xue Long (Snow Dragon), shuttles between the Arctic and Antarctic summers, and will be joined in 2016 by a new vessel. Yet co-operation remains essential in this remote and hostile environment, and it relies on Russia and Australia for help with logistics and supplies.
China's long-term interest may be in resources. But mining has been banned in the Antarctic since 1998, and that would be hard to change if most countries active there resisted it. For now, scientists in Hobart say the Chinese are doing impressive research. Most ambitious is an attempt to drill 2.5km into Antarctica's highest ice dome. Trapped air may reveal the secrets of 1.3m years of climate change. But extracting samples without contaminating them is only one of many challenges. And, whisper Australian scientists gleefully—for co-operation has its limits—the Chinese may not be drilling in the best place.
资源是中国长期利益出发点。但是1998年起,南极洲就禁止采矿,如果那里活跃的大多数国家反对开采的话,这个现状很难改变。目前,霍巴特的科学家中国的研究让人吃惊。其中在南极洲最高的冰穹钻入2500米的尝试非常有野心的。收集的空气可能揭示130万年前的气候变化的秘密。但是采集的样本如何不受到污染也是众多挑战之一。其中一位澳大利亚的科学家幸灾乐祸的小声说,合作也意味着限制。中国就无法在最佳的地方钻探。翻译:刘苗苗 校对:于玉涵


1.sign up 签订合同; 报名

He has posted a sign up that says "No Fishing"

They manage to sign up all the best performers.

3.attempt to 尝试,企图

These feelings are likely to make people attempt to overthrow the system.

The action seemed a clumsy attempt to topple the Janata Dal government.