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China, Russia, Norway block Antarctic ocean sanctuary plan

The proposed sanctuary covers an area of 1.8 million square kilometers.

Delegations from China, Norway and Russia voted to block moves to create a vast Antarctic ocean sanctuary to protect orcas, blue whales, seals and penguins, reports The Independent.

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The proposal, which needed unanimous agreement to move forward, would have banned all commercial fishing in an area of 1.8 million square kilometer in the Antarctic ocean. According to experts, the sanctuary would have played a key role in tackling climate change by soaking up huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

“Rather than put forward reasoned opposition on scientific grounds, some delegations, like China and Russia, deployed delaying tactics such as wrecking amendments and filibustering, which meant there was barely any time left for real discussion about protecting Antarctic waters,” said Frida Bengtsson, of Greenpeace’s Protect the Antarctic campaign.

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