Breaking Waves: Ocean News

10/21/2019 - 17:33
While studying sediments in the Bay of Bengal, an international team finds evidence dating back millions of years that catastrophic events likely toppled fresh trees from their mountain homes on a long journey to the deep sea. The discovery may add to models of the Earth's carbon cycle.
10/21/2019 - 15:06
Ocean Leadership ~ Searching For The Fountain Of Youth Truth Sixty years ago last Saturday, I was born in Panama City, Florida. It was rather fitting to head back to my home state recently to participate in the second annual Climate Correction conference in Orlando. A partnership between the VoLo Foundation and the University of Central Florida Sustainability Initiatives, Climate Correction is focused on collaboration around solutions to the changing climate. It was exciting to hear so many experts speak, not just about the impacts of climate change, but about the solutions — covering topics ranging from ocean health and healthcare to agriculture and the economy. One partial solution that has started to take hold in some coastal states is the designation of a chief resilience officer (CRO). In fact, earlier this summer, Florida’s governor named Dr. Julia Nesheiwat as the state’s first CRO and tasked her with “preparing Florida for the environmental, physical, and economic impacts of sea level rise.” While many cities have adopted CROs, it is rarer for states to have them, with governors in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Rhode Island joining Florida in creating CRO positions. It’s nice to note that these appointments are happening in states with both Republican and Democratic governors. Sixty years ago, we were in the early stages of understanding changes to the Earth’s climate and our role in influencing the changes. I am optimistic that in another 60 years, we’ll be seeing (well, maybe not “we”) a more sustainable future thanks to the implementation of solutions being developed today. Member Highlight Coral Reef Starter Kit: New Study Shows Coral Reef Fish Do Not Mind 3D-printed Corals Researchers across the globe are searching for ways to help endangered reefs, and the animals that live there, withstand or recover from weather events, including bleaching and storms that can occur with increasingly warmer water temperatures. One idea is to use 3D-printed coral models to replace or supplement coral reef systems that have been affected. New research by the University of Delaware’s Danielle Dixson and UD alumnus Emily Ruhl has shown that 3D-printed objects do not impact the behavior of coral-associated damselfish or the survival of a settling stony coral. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 10-21-2019 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
10/21/2019 - 14:00
Carbon emissions make sea more acidic, which wiped out 75% of marine species 66m years ago Ocean acidification can cause the mass extinction of marine life, fossil evidence from 66m years ago has revealed. A key impact of today’s climate crisis is that seas are again getting more acidic, as they absorb carbon emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Scientists said the latest research is a warning that humanity is risking potential “ecological collapse” in the oceans, which produce half the oxygen we breathe. Continue reading...
10/21/2019 - 12:50
Researchers report that in order for a 90-meter ice cliff to collapse entirely, the ice shelves supporting the cliff would have to break apart extremely quickly, within a matter of hours -- a rate of ice loss that has not been observed in the modern record.
10/21/2019 - 12:49
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed Since returning from August recess, Congress has continued work on their spending bills for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Both chambers passed a continuing resolution (CR; P.L. 116-59), signed into law by the president, that kept the federal government from shutting down when the fiscal year came to an end on September 30. The stopgap measure keeps the government open by maintaining FY 2019 funding levels through November 21 as both chambers continue to work through their 12 appropriations bills. Last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved 10 of their bills, including the Commerce-Justice-Science (S. 2584), Defense (S. 2474), and Interior-Environment (S. 2580) bills. The House has not taken any further action after passing 10 of their bills before the August recess. The House approved legislation committed to improving diversity in the science, technology, education, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, passing the STEM Opportunities Act of 2019 (H.R. 2528). The bill promotes development of a diverse STEM workforce by helping implement practices that limit barriers for women and racial and ethnic minority groups to pursue research in higher education and at federal laboratories. The MSI STEM Achievement Act (H.R. 4372) was also introduced and passed out of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. It directs federal agencies and the Office of Science and Technology Policy to help improve the quality of undergraduate STEM education and enhance the research capacity at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), tribal colleges and universities (TCUs), and minority serving institutions (MSIs). The House also passed three bills regarding offshore oil and gas exploration. If enacted, the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act of 2019 (H.R. 205) and Coastal and Marine Economies Protection Act (H.R. 1941) would permanently ban oil and gas leasing in certain areas of the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast and in the Pacific and Atlantic Outer Continental Shelves, respectively. The Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain Act (H.R. 1146) would prevent the opening of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas exploration. Both chambers were active in marking up legislation. The House Committee on Natural Resources favorably reported three bills which would reauthorize the National Sea Grant College Program (H.R. 2405) and Integrated Coastal and Ocean Observation System (H.R. 1314) and would formally authorize the Digital Coast Program (H.R. 2189). The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment passed a series of bills that would reauthorize restoration and conservation programs for the Great Lakes (H.R. 4031), Puget Sound (H.R. 2247), San Francisco Bay (H.R. 1132), and Chesapeake Bay (H.R. 1620), in addition to reauthorizing the National Estuary Program (H.R. 4044). Several pieces of legislation also passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife that work to support coastal resilience projects and community adaptation initiatives (H.R. 3115, H.R. 3541, H.R. 1487). The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the Save Our Seas 2.0: Improving Domestic Infrastructure to Prevent Marine Debris Act (S. 2260) and the Committee on Foreign Relations passed the Save Our Seas 2.0: Enhanced Global Engagement to Combat Marine Debris Act (S. 2372). Building on the Save Our Seas Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-265), these bills continue to address marine debris from a domestic waste and infrastructure perspective and from a U.S. global engagement perspective. The Marine Energy Research and Development Act of 2019 (S.1821) also passed out of committee. This bill would promote research and development activities for increased energy generation and improved environmental outcomes of deploying marine energy technologies. What’s New Both chambers introduced new legislation focusing on conservation and restoration. The Restoring Resilient Reefs Act of 2019 (S. 2429 and H.R. 4160) would reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-562) and would establish the United States Coral Reef Task Force. In response to new regulations by the Department of the Interior regarding the Endangered Species Act (ESA), both chambers introduced the PAW and FIN Conservation Act of 2019 (S. 2491 and H.R. 4348), and the House introduced an amendment to the ESA to increase the management role of local and state governments (H.R 4483). The Senate introduced the SAVE Right Whales Act (S. 2453), which would help finance right whale conservation projects and programs, and the Chesapeake WILD Act (S. 2591), which would create a new grant program for Chesapeake Bay conservation efforts. The House introduced the National Fish Habitat Conservation Through Partnerships Act (H.R. 1747) as well. The House also introduced the Preserve Science in Policymaking Act of 2019 (H.R. 4557) in response to an executive order arbitrarily reducing the number of advisory committees established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. COL strongly objected to the executive order and urged the president to rescind it. The legislation would prohibit the president from terminating one of these advisory committees unless authorized by law or with the consent of the agency’s chief data officer, chief evaluation officer, and chief information officer. What’s Next Lawmakers are still working in conference to reconcile differences between House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 2500 and S. 1790), hoping to send the annual bill to the White House as quickly as possible. Congress has until November 21 to reconcile their appropriations bills before the CR expires. If they don’t, another stopgap measure will be necessary to avoid a government shutdown. Related Coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership As New Fiscal Year Begins, Congress Keeps Moving On Appropriations Deadlines Ahead As Congress Reconvenes July’s Congressional Wrap Up Turning The Tide On Estuary Health May And June’s Congressional Wrap Up Legislators “Sea” Wave Of Ocean Bills Commerce-Justice-Science And Interior-Environment Appropriations Bills Head To House Floor March and April’s Congressional Wrap Up February’s Congressional Wrap Up Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post August and September’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
10/21/2019 - 12:25
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: U.S. Geological Survey) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What it Was The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing titled “Feeding America: Making Sustainable Offshore Aquaculture a Reality.” Why it Matters As countries look for sustainable sources of protein to feed growing populations, aquaculture has become the fastest growing food sector in the world. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service and the World Bank, the United States imports over 80 percent of its seafood, which has led to a $14 billion seafood deficit in 2016, and ranks only 17th in total aquaculture production globally. While the United States has research and technology to support aquaculture, and does so in state waters, there is currently no offshore farming in federal waters due to the lack of regulatory structure. Key Points Members sought to learn more from witnesses on both benefits and risks of offshore aquaculture as well as best practices for regulation in federal waters. All agreed on the huge potential in U.S waters and expressed varying levels of support for further development. Ms. Kathryn Unger (Managing Director, CQN North America, Cargill Aqua Nutrition, President, Stronger America Through Seafood, Inc) cited our country’s large exclusive economic zone, dynamic workforce, advanced technology, ample feed sources, and growing market demand for seafood as factors positioning the nation for leadership in global aquaculture. However, witnesses identified several factors that contribute to the lag in domestic production: primarily, the uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding permitting, management, and enforcement in federal waters, which has led investors to hesitate to commit to U.S-based projects and fishers to hesitate to pursue aquaculture projects. Proponents cited the potential widespread economic, environmental, and human health benefits of expanding aquaculture. Ms. Unger explained that economic benefits go beyond direct job creation for coastal communities and include reducing American dependence on seafood imports and generating new opportunities for agricultural sectors through feed development. Witnesses also noted the lower carbon emissions and space efficiency of seafood production, as well as health benefits of consuming seafood-based Omega-3 fatty acids that would come from increased supply of seafood through aquaculture. However, Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (WA) preached caution, supporting the concept of aquaculture by alluding to successes of Washington shellfish farms but stressing the need for mindfulness of associated risks and considering costs to both surrounding ecosystems and the economic and cultural activities of local communities. She and other witnesses emphasized that poorly managed and underregulated offshore aquaculture, particularly the net pen finfish aquaculture that was the main topic of discussion, poses a direct threat to already threatened marine ecosystems and domestic fisheries, particularly if farming nonnative species that could pressure or infect native species. Ranking Member Cantwell and Mr. Jeremiah Julius (Chairman, Lummi Nation) spotlighted the Cooke salmon disaster of 2017, where net pen failure resulted in the release of 300,000 nonnative Atlantic salmon into the Salish Sea, disrupting native species’ fisheries and ecosystems. They explained that this could have been avoided through monitoring and prompt response plans. Much discussion centered on the need for a streamlined and predictable policy framework to advance the development of offshore aquaculture. Dr. Paul Doremus (Deputy Assistant Administrator of Operations, NOAA) and Dr. Ben Halpern (Director, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara) were confident that proper management and science-based tools could minimize environmental impacts and spatial planning conflicts. Witnesses and members expressed confidence in NOAA’s ability to successfully regulate the industry based on the agency’s well-managed, coordinated, science-based system of wild fishery management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act; conflict mitigation ability; successful cooperation with coastal state governments; and investment in decision-making tools. Suggested best practices included proper siting of net pens, including stakeholder consultations in the decision-making process, and close monitoring and reporting requirements for governments and companies. Next Steps Chairman Roger Wicker (MS) announced he will be re-introducing the Advancing the Quality and Understanding of American Aquaculture (AQUAA) Act this month, which builds upon last Congress’ AQUAA Act. He described how the bill seeks to streamline the permitting process for net pens in federal waters by creating a set of national standards, similar to the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and gives NOAA Fisheries clear authority over offshore aquaculture in these areas. Quotable “It is critical that efforts to create aquaculture policy are informed by science and adaptive to new science. Well-managed aquaculture will need to take into account community and social aspects, and the science on this is more sparse.” — Dr. Ben Halpern (Director, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara) “To produce safe, sustainable and scientifically-informed marine aquaculture requires clear policy based on the best available science. As a global leader in the management of our marine resources, the U.S. has the opportunity, knowledge and capacity to do this in a way that sets a global standard.” — Dr. Ben Halpern (Director, National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, University of California Santa Barbara) “Despite the fact that we have technical expertise and entrepreneurs ready to start growing fish, there are no fin fish aquaculture operations in federal waters. By carefully considering existing uses of our busy coast, we can thoughtfully place new aquaculture facilities and reduce spatial conflicts.” — Chairman Roger Wicker (MS) “Our maritime ecosystems are already under dire threat from rapidly changing acidity in our oceans, Marine heat waves, oxygen depletion and global climate change. And while we need high quality protein to feed the world, it must be sustainable. So we can’t further exacerbate the problems of our current fisheries until we answer these questions.” —  Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (WA) Related Coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership 2018 COL Industry Forum U.S. Offshore Aquaculture: Will We Fish or Cut Bait? Member Highlight: New Study Finds Offshore Aquaculture Has Low Environmental Impact Tapping Into Our Blue Economy One Fish, Two Fish, Farmed Fish, Good Fish? September’s Congressional Wrap Up Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post Congress Floats The Idea Of Expanding Aquaculture appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
10/21/2019 - 12:00
Exclusive: public notice on proposal was placed in classifieds of paper in Queensland town of Emerald A Clive Palmer-controlled company has applied for a mining lease and environmental authority to build a massive coalmine four times the size of Adani’s in the Queensland Galilee Basin. The Galilee Coal project – formerly called China First – has not progressed since it gained federal environmental approval in late 2013. Continue reading...
10/21/2019 - 11:42
Highview Power claims device will be Europe’s largest energy storage project British battery pioneers plan to build Europe’s largest energy storage project using a cryogenic battery that can store renewable energy for weeks rather than hours. The device will be built on the site of an old fossil fuel plant in the north of England to power up to 50,000 homes for up to five hours. Continue reading...
10/21/2019 - 11:41
Michael Miller writes on the Conservatives’ record on tackling the climate crisis, while Dr Andy Higginbottom argues that both parties fail to acknowledge the real impact and Dr David Lowry says that nuclear power is not the panacea it’s made out to be The letter from Conservative MPs listing their climate achievements makes rather sad reading (Letters, 17 October). Yes, they have done some positive things but the letter glosses over many problems. The record investment in renewables and phase-out of coal power stations is largely a result of market forces because green measures have become much cheaper, and it was the Labour government that introduced the feed-in tariff leading to the huge growth in solar power. Setting a net-zero target is meaningless unless supported by action, and hosting the 2020 UN climate talks will probably simply produce more hot air than reduce CO2 . Continue reading...
10/21/2019 - 10:27
Fall in UK-produced emissions has been offset by those from increase in imported products Britain has contributed to the global climate emergency by outsourcing its carbon emissions to developing nations, according to official figures, despite managing to weaken the domestic link between fossil fuels and economic growth. The Office for National Statistics said the UK had become the biggest net importer of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the G7 group of wealthy nations – outstripping the US and Japan – as a result of buying goods manufactured abroad. Continue reading...