EVEN as the United States and China confront deep disagreements, there is a global challenge that simply won't wait for the resolution of our differences : CLIMATE CHANGE.

While some have decided that we are entering a new Cold War with China, we can still cooperate on critical mutual interests. After all, even at the height of 20th - century tensions, the Americans and the Soviets negotiated arms control agreements, which were in the interest of both the countries.

Climate change, like nuclear proliferation, is a challenge of our own making - and one to which we hold the solution.

We have an opportunity this month to make this clear that great power rivalries aside, geopolitics must end at the water's edge - at the ice bottom of our planet in the Southern Ocean, which surrounds the entire continent of Antarctica.

The first post World War II arms limitation agreement - the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959 at the height of Cold War - banned military activities, created a nuclear-free space, set aside territorial claims and declared the continent a global commons dedicated to peace and science.

Now we have the opportunity to extend that global commons from the Land to the Sea.

CHINA could make a powerful statement about climate leadership by throwing its weight behind the creation of three new marine parks - where no fishing or other industrial activity would be allowed - in the Southern Ocean waters off the East Antarctic, around the Antarctic Peninsula and in the Weddell Sea.

Totaling nearly four million square kilometers of protected oceans, about one and a half million square miles, this would be a refuge where wildlife can adapt to warming and acidifying seas, and one of the largest acts of environmental protection in history.

Study after study shows that one one of the best ways to protect and conserve marine biodiversity is by declaring protected areas in parts of the ocean - eliminating stresses like fishing and other industrial activity - which in turn helps ecosystems build resilience to a changing climate.

The Southern Ocean not only teems with life, but can also help regulate global climate, driving ocean circulation that carries oxygen-rich waters and nutrients supporting marine life and fisheries in much of the world's oceans.

One of the foundations of the Antarctic ecosystem - KRILL - is a food source for that ecosystem, and through its life cycle also helps lock up 23 million tons of carbon dioxide annually from Earth's atmosphere, the equivalent to greenhouse gasses produced annually by 35 million cars.  

The Honor and Serving of this Latest Global Operational Research on Climate Change continues to Part 2. The World Students Society thanks author former Secretary of State John F Kerry [2013-17]


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