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南极洲丰富资源引发全球竞争

更新时间:2015-12-31 9:34:00 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Countries Rush for Upper Hand in Antarctica
南极洲丰富资源引发全球竞争

On an glacier-filled island with fjords and elephant seals, Russia has built Antarctica’s first Orthodox church on a hill overlooking its research base, transporting the logs all the way from Siberia.

在一个满布冰川、有峡湾与海象的岛屿上,俄罗斯用远从西伯利亚运来的木材,在一座小山上建造了南极洲第一座东正教堂,山下就是该国的科研基地。

Less than an hour away by snowmobile, Chinese laborers have updated the Great Wall Station, a linchpin in China’s plan to operate five bases on Antarctica, complete with an indoor badminton court, domes to protect satellite stations and sleeping quarters for 150 people.

在离此地一小时摩托雪橇车程的地方,中国工人对长城站进行了翻建,该国计划在南极设立五个科学考察站,长城站是其中的关键。站内设有室内羽球场和保护卫星站的圆拱屋顶,还有能容纳150人的卧室。

Not to be outdone, India’s futuristic new Bharathi base, built on stilts using 134 interlocking shipping containers, resembles a spaceship. Turkey and Iran have announced plans to build bases, too.

印度人也不甘示弱。他们新建的巴拉蒂基地(Bharathi)十分前卫,由134个货柜扣接而成,然后用支柱撑起,形似一艘太空船。土耳其和伊朗业已宣布在南极建造基地的计划。

More than a century has passed since explorers raced to plant their flags at the bottom of the world, and for decades to come this continent is supposed to be protected as a scientific preserve, shielded from intrusions like military activities and mining.

一百多年来,探险家争先恐后地在这世界的尽头插上自己的旗帜。 而在接下来数十年,人们本应把这片大陆当做一个科学保护区来呵护,避免它受到诸如军事行动和矿产开发等活动的干扰。

But an array of countries are rushing to assert greater influence here, with an eye not just toward the day those protective treaties expire, but also for the strategic and commercial opportunities that exist right now.

然而众多国家正纷纷行动起来,要对这里施加更多的影响力。他们一边注意那些保护条约何时到期,一边还要盯着眼下就存在的战略与商业良机。

“The newer players are stepping into what they view as a treasure house of resources,” said Anne-Marie Brady, a scholar at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury who specializes in Antarctic politics.

“新近加入竞争的国家,踏入的是他们视为天然资源聚宝盆的一块地方,”安妮-玛莉·布雷迪(Anne-Marie Brady)表示;她是新西兰坎特伯雷大学(University of Canterbury)专研南极政治问题的学者。

Some of the ventures focus on the Antarctic resources that are already up for grabs, like abundant sea life. China and South Korea, both of which operate state-of-the-art bases here, are ramping up their fishing of krill, the shrimplike crustaceans found in abundance in the Southern Ocean, while Russia recently thwarted efforts to create one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries here.

有的是看上了南极现成可用的天然资源,譬如大量的海洋生物。在这里设有尖端基地的中国和韩国都在迅速提升他们的磷虾渔获量。这是一种形似虾的甲壳动物,大量存在于南冰洋中。而俄罗斯近来刚刚出面阻挠了在这里设立全球最大禁渔区的努力。

Some scientists are examining the potential for harvesting icebergs from Antarctica, which is estimated to have the biggest reserves of fresh water on the planet. Nations are also pressing ahead with space research and satellite projects to expand their global navigation abilities.

有些科学家正在审视从南极采收冰山的潜力。根据估计,这些冰山蕴含了全世界最大的淡水储备。各国也同时在太空研究和卫星计划上加紧向前,好拓展他们探勘全球的能力。

Building on a Soviet-era foothold, Russia is expanding its monitoring stations for Glonass, its version of the Global Positioning System. At least three Russian stations are already operating in Antarctica, part of its effort to challenge the dominance of the American GPS, and new stations are planned for sites like the Russian base, in the shadow of the Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity.

俄罗斯正在以一个苏联时代的驻扎点为基础,为他们的格洛纳斯系统(Glonass)拓建观测站,这是该国自行开发的全球卫星定位系统。在南极已经有至少三个俄罗斯的观测站在运作,以挑战美国的GPS系统。而其他一些地点,比如圣三一东正教堂(Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity)荫庇下的俄罗斯基地,也有新建观测站的计划。

Elsewhere in Antarctica, Russian researchers boast of their recent discovery of a freshwater reserve the size of Lake Ontario after drilling through miles of solid ice.

在南极洲另一处地方,俄罗斯研究人员自豪地宣告,他们在钻透数英里厚的坚硬冰层后,发现了容量可比安大略湖的淡水库。

“You can see that we’re here to stay,” said Vladimir Cheberdak, 57, chief of the Bellingshausen Station, as he sipped tea under a portrait of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen, an officer and later admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy who explored the Antarctic coast in 1820.

“你可以看到,我们在这里是扎了根了,”57岁的别林斯高晋站站长弗拉基米尔·切贝尔达克(Vladimir Cheberdak)一边喝着茶一边说,他的头顶悬挂着法比安·戈特利布·冯·别林斯高晋(Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen)的肖像,这位已故俄罗斯皇家海军上将在1820年探索了南极洲的海岸线。

Antarctica’s mineral, oil and gas wealth are a longer-term prize. The treaty banning mining here, shielding coveted reserves of iron ore, coal and chromium, expires in 2048. Researchers recently found kimberlite deposits hinting at the existence of diamonds. And while assessments vary widely, geologists estimate that Antarctica holds at least 36 billion barrels of oil and natural gas.

南极洲富藏的矿、石油和天然气则是一项长期回报。前述条约禁止各国在此地采矿,护卫着众人垂涎的铁、煤、铬矿脉,不过这份条约会在2048年到期。研究人员近来还发现了金伯利岩层,暗示着钻石矿脉的存在。此外,虽然各家评估结果大不相同,但地质学家预测,南极洲蕴藏了至少3600万桶的石油和天然气。

Beyond the Antarctic treaties, huge obstacles persist to tapping these resources, like drifting icebergs that could imperil offshore platforms. Then there is Antarctica’s remoteness, with some mineral deposits found in windswept locations on a continent that is larger than Europe and where winter temperatures hover around minus 70 Fahrenheit.

除南极条约外,利用这些资源还存在其他巨大的障碍,如漂浮的冰山可能会危及海上平台。此外,南极位置偏僻。在这个面积超过欧洲,冬季气温在零下70华氏度(约合零下57摄氏度)左右徘徊的大陆上,有几处矿藏位于极为荒凉的地带。

But advances in technology might make Antarctica a lot more accessible three decades from now. And even before then, scholars warn, the demand for resources in an energy-hungry world could raise pressure to renegotiate Antarctica’s treaties, possibly allowing more commercial endeavors here well before the prohibitions against them expire.

但30年后的技术进步可能会大大降低开发南极的难度。而学者警告称,可能都等不到那个时候,这个渴望能源的世界所产生的资源需求,就会促使人们就南极条约重新展开谈判,也许会在禁令失效前就允许对这里进行商业利用。

The research stations on King George Island offer a glimpse into the long game on this ice-blanketed continent as nations assert themselves, eroding the sway long held by countries like the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

随着各国坚持自己的主张,削弱美国、英国、澳大利亚和新西兰等国长期以来的影响力,这片被冰雪覆盖的大陆上演了一场历时弥久的竞争。乔治王岛上的科考站让人们得以一窥这场竞争。

Being stationed in Antarctica involves adapting to life on the planet’s driest, windiest and coldest continent, yet each nation manages to make itself at home.

被派驻南极意味着要在全世界最干燥、最冷、风最大的大陆上生活,但各国过得都挺惬意。

Bearded Russian priests offer regular services at the Orthodox church for the 16 or so Russian speakers who spend the winter at the base, largely polar scientists in fields like glaciology and meteorology. Their number climbs to about 40 in the warmer summer months.

蓄着胡子的俄罗斯神父会定期在东正教堂为在基地过冬的大约16名说俄语的人举行仪式。他们大部分是冰川学和气象学等领域的极地科学家。在更暖和一些的夏季,人数会增加到大约40人。

China has arguably the fastest-growing operations in Antarctica. It opened its fourth station last year and is pressing ahead with plans to build a fifth. It is building its second icebreaking ship and setting up research drilling operations on an ice dome 13,422 feet above sea level that is one of the planet’s coldest places.

中国在南极的活动可以说是增加最快的。该国去年启用了第四个科考站,现在正在推进修建第五个科考站的计划。此外,中国还在建造第二艘破冰船,并安排在一处海拔13422英尺(约合4100米)的冰穹上进行研究性的钻井作业。那里是全球最冷的地方之一。

Chinese officials say the expansion in Antarctica prioritizes scientific research, but they also acknowledge that concerns about “resource security” influence their moves.

中国官员称,在南极扩张的首要目的是科学考察,但他们也承认,对“资源安全”的担忧对他们的行动有影响。

China’s newly renovated Great Wall station on King George Island makes the Russian and Chilean bases here seem antiquated.

在乔治王岛上,中国新近翻建的长城站让俄罗斯和智利的基地相形见绌。

“We do weather monitoring here and other research,” Ning Xu, 53, the chief of the Chinese base, said over tea during a fierce blizzard in late November.

在11月末的一场强暴风雪期间,长城站站长徐宁喝着茶说,“我们在这里进行天气监测和其他研究。”

The cavernous base he leads resembles a snowed-in college campus on holiday break, with the capacity to sleep more than 10 times the 13 people who were staying on through the Antarctic winter.

他领导的长城站内有巨大的空间,像一个放假期间被雪封住了的大学校园。在南极的这个冬天会有13个人留在这里。但该站的空间足以容纳10倍以上的人过夜。

Yong Yu, a Chinese microbiologist, showed off the spacious building, with empty desks under an illustrated timeline detailing the rapid growth of China’s Antarctic operations since the 1980s. “We now feel equipped to grow,” he said.

微生物学家余勇(音)向我们展示宽敞的大楼。一个图文并茂的大事年表详细介绍了自80年代以来,中国南极活动的迅速发展。年表下面的桌子上空无一物。“我们觉得现在是时候发展了,”他说。

As some countries expand operations in Antarctica, the United States maintains three year-round stations on the continent with more than 1,000 people during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer, including those at the Amundsen-Scott station, built in 1956 at an elevation of 9,301 feet on a plateau at the South Pole. But American researchers quietly grumble about budget restraints and having far fewer icebreakers than Russia, limiting the reach of the United States in Antarctica.

在一些国家扩大其南极活动的同时,美国在这片大陆上依旧保持着三个全年运转的科考站规模。在南半球的夏季,这三个站有逾千人,其中包括阿蒙森-斯科特(Amundsen-Scott)站的人员。建于1956年的阿蒙森-斯科特站地处南极的一片高原上,海拔9301英尺。然而美国科考人员私下里抱怨预算紧张,破冰船也远少于俄罗斯,这些问题制约了美国在南极的影响力。

Scholars warn that Antarctica’s political flux could blur the distinction between military and civilian activities long before the continent’s treaties come up for renegotiation, especially in parts of Antarctica that are ideal for intercepting signals from satellites or retasking satellite systems, potentially enhancing global electronic intelligence operations.

学者告诫称,南极的政治力量变化可能会在就南极条约重新展开谈判之前,模糊军事和民用活动之间的界线,特别是在最适合用于拦截卫星信号或重新设定卫星经过时间的地区,这可能给全球电子情报活动带来提升。

Some countries have had a hard time here. Brazil opened a research station in 1984, but it was largely destroyed by a fire that killed two members of the navy in 2012, the same year that a diesel-laden Brazilian barge sank near the base. As if that were not enough, a Brazilian C-130 Hercules military transport plane has remained stranded near the runway of Chile’s air base here since it crash-landed in 2014.

一些国家在这里十分不顺。巴西在1984年设立了一个科考站,但2012年的一场大火导致该站基本被毁,并造成两名海军人员死亡。同一年,巴西一艘满载柴油的驳船在该基地附近沉没。然而厄运还没有结束,2014年,巴西一架C-130大力神军用运输机紧急迫降后,一直被困在这里的一座智利空军基地跑道附近。

Still, Brazil’s stretch of misfortune has created opportunities for China, with a Chinese company winning the $100 million contract in 2015 to rebuild the Brazilian station.

但巴西一连串的不幸给中国创造了机会。2015年,一家中国公司拿下了重建巴西科考站的合同,价值1亿美元。

Amid all the changes, Antarctica maintains its allure. South Korea opened its second Antarctic research base in 2014, describing it as a way to test robots developed by Korean researchers for use in extreme conditions. With Russia’s help, Belarus is preparing to build its first Antarctic base. Colombia said this year that it planned to join other South American nations with bases in Antarctica.

经历了这一切的变化,南极魅力依旧。2014年,韩国开设第二个南极科考站,称其将用于检验韩国研究人员开发的用于极端条件的机器人。在俄罗斯的帮助下,白俄罗斯也在准备修建该国的第一个南极基地。哥伦比亚今年表示打算加入其他一些南美国家的行列,在南极建立科考站。

“The old days of the Antarctic being dominated by the interests and wishes of white men from European, Australasian and North American states is over,” said Klaus Dodds, a politics scholar at the University of London who specializes in Antarctica. “The reality is that Antarctica is geopolitically contested.”

“在以前,南极被欧洲、澳大拉西亚和北美诸国的白人利益和意愿主宰,”伦敦大学(University of London)专研南极问题的政治学者克劳斯·多兹(Klaus Dodds)说。“眼下的现实是,南极成了地缘政治上的争夺目标。”

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