Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Australia wants to build a huge concrete runway in Antarctica. Here’s why that’s a bad idea

Australia wants to build a huge concrete runway in Antarctica. Here’s why that’s a bad idea, The Conversation 
July 17, 2020  Shaun Brooks, University Associate, University of Tasmania, Julia JabourAdjunct Senior Lecturer, University of Tasmania    A ustralia wants to build a 2.7-kilometre concrete runway in Antarctica, the world’s biggest natural reserve. The plan, if approved, would have the largest footprint of any project in the continent’s history………

Australia: an environmental leader?

Australia has traditionally been considered an environmental leader in Antarctica. For example, in 1989 under the Hawke government, it urged the world to abandon a mining convention in favour of a new deal to ban mining on the continent.

Australia’s 20 Year Action Plan promotes “leadership in environmental stewardship in Antarctica”, pledging to “minimise the environmental impact of Australia’s activities”.

But the aerodrome proposal appears at odds with that goal. It would cover 2.2 square kilometres, increasing the total “disturbance footprint” of all nations on the continent by 40%. It would also mean Australia has the biggest footprint of any nation, overtaking the United States.

Within this footprint, environmental effects will also be intense. Construction will require more than three million cubic metres of earthworks – levelling 60 vertical metres of hills and valleys along the length of the runway. This will inevitably cause dust emissions – on the windiest continent on Earth – and the effect of this on plants and animals in Antarctica is poorly understood.

Wilson’s storm petrels that nest at the site will be displaced. Native lichens, fungi and algae will be destroyed, and irreparable damage is expected at adjacent lakes.

Weddell seals breed within 500 metres of the proposed runway site. Federal environment officials recognise the dust from construction and subsequent noise from low flying aircraft have the potential to disturb these breeding colonies.

The proposed area is also important breeding habitat for Adélie penguins. Eight breeding sites in the region are listed as “important bird areas”. Federal environment officials state the penguins are likely to be impacted by human disturbance, dust, and noise from construction of the runway, with particular concern for oil spills and aircraft operations.

The summer population at Davis Station will need to almost double from 120 to 250 during construction. This will require new, permanent infrastructure and increase the station’s fuel and water consumption, and sewage discharged into the environment……..https://theconversation.com/australia-wants-to-build-a-huge-concrete-runway-in-antarctica-heres-why-thats-a-bad-idea-139596

July 18, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment

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