The Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting got started with a bang this week, as Secretary Clinton delivered a fantastic speech at the opening of the meeting. Secretary Clinton discussed the need to address global warming, and mentioned that the U.S. was concerned about Antarctic tourism. Needless to say, our organization was pretty thrilled to have someone so high up mentioning Antarctic issues in detail. Secretary Clinton's speech followed a welcome move by President Obama the previous week to send Annex VI of the Environment Protocol of the Antarctic Treaty to the Senate for ratification. Annex VI establishes rules for the liability associated with environmental accidents by commercial operators in the Antarctic. It also establishes that the United States government would be reimbursed for costs it might incur in cleaning up operators' messes.
The ASOC delegation to the Antarctic Treaty meeting has its collective fingers crossed that these events are just the start of a productive meeting.