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A Cold War-era treaty has kept Antarctica safe for the past 60 years. But will it survive climate change?

On a mild December day in Washington, 1959, delegates from 12 nations gathered to sign the Antarctic Treaty, putting an end to escalating geopolitical contests

By Camilla Nichol  

SIR RANULPH FIENNES [L] AND DR MICHAEL STROUD AT GOULD BAY, ON THE FILCHNER ICE SHELF, AT THE START OF THEIR ATTEMPT TO MAKE THE FIRST CROSSING OF ANTARTICA ON FOOT, AND THE LONGEST-EVER UNSUPPORTED POLAR JOURNEY. THEY ARE DUE AT THE SOUTH POLE SHORTLY.

On an unseasonably mild December day in Washington in 1959, delegates from 12 nations gathered after days of complex negotiations to sign the Antarctic Treaty, a unique piece of international legislation, the likes of which had never been previously seen. This treaty, made up of 14 simple articles,…

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