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The strength to continue : a case study approach to examining the robustness of polar governance in the era of environmental and energy security


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Weber, M 2011 , 'The strength to continue : a case study approach to examining the robustness of polar governance in the era of environmental and energy security', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Interest in accessing, developing and transporting offshore resources in the
polar environments comprise elements of energy and environmental security.
These contemporary issues place stress on the systems of polar governance,
expressed in this thesis as operating systems. The capacity of each polar
operating system to deal with emerging issues is determined by operating
system robustness. This thesis argues that robustness of polar governance is
not solely dependent on the structure of the operating system. Robustness is
attained, and maintained, through the dynamic interaction between the actors
and the systems’ components. Robustness is defined through the combination
of participant confidence and the ability to effectively avoid prejudice to
states’ rights. Participant confidence further relies on state authority,
legitimacy and resilience. Robustness is lost if the system is pushed below an
operating system threshold.
Case studies linked to energy and environmental security have been used to
identify characteristics of participant confidence and effectiveness. The case
studies examine the debate concerning the status of the Arctic waterways, the
negotiation and abandonment of the Convention on the Regulation of
Antarctic Mineral Resource Activities, and the continental shelf delimitation
process undergone by the Russian Federation in the Arctic and Australia in
the Antarctic. Polar offshore oil and gas activities, potential and regulation are
also examined. Once compared, the capacity of the operating systems to
accommodate contemporary challenges and future issues which accompany
increased access to the polar environments is examined. Contemporary
challenges include industry-related scientific research, shipping and the
increase, or onset of, offshore oil and gas industry activities.
This analysis reveals both differences and similarities between the Arctic and
Antarctic operating systems. In the Arctic voluntary initiatives and recognized
sovereignty reinforce the ability of state authority to drive participant
confidence and regional norms. Commitment to regional accountability
advances legitimacy and resilience within the system. In the Antarctic every
state committed to the Antarctic Treaty System acts to ensure prejudice of
states’ rights does not occur. Resilience of the system is reinforced by the
significant consequences for abandoning the system. Widely accepted norms
of behavior within the mix of hard and soft law instruments of the Antarctic
operating system contributes to its legitimacy.
This thesis highlights the capacity of the polar operating systems to
accommodate challenges. Each system, though different in structure, has
remained above the operating system threshold. As long as there is acceptance
of the operating system dynamics, sources of law and terms of engagement
related to sovereign rights and regional cooperation, contemporary and
emerging regulatory issues can in turn be overcome.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Weber, M
Keywords: polar environments, operating systems,operating system robustness,Robustness
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 2011 the Author

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