Breaking Waves: Ocean News

05/21/2019 - 14:18
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was: The House Committee on Appropriations held a subcommittee markup of the draft fiscal year (FY) 2020 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill. The CJS subcommittee provides funding for several federal agencies, including, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Why It Matters: Scientific research and innovation remain vital to supporting healthy communities, strengthening the economy, and addressing issues posed by climate change and other stresses on our natural world. Facing these challenges requires robust funding for the federal agencies that conduct and support science and innovation and that engage the next generation of scientists and policymakers. FY 2020 CJS appropriations will allocate federal dollars to several agencies responsible for a broad range of activities addressing these initiatives. Key Points: Subcommittee members from both parties expressed general satisfaction with the FY 2020 CJS draft bill, which would fund various federal programs advancing scientific research and innovation while also providing support for the decadal United States Census. The House bill funds most of its agencies at or above FY 2019 levels, including many programs prosed for termination in the administration’s budget request. Several members stressed the importance of supporting science and innovation to mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather events and also highlighted the need to promote U.S. leadership in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. NOAA The bill appropriates $5.48 billion to NOAA, which exceeds FY 2019 enacted funding by $54.3 million and the administration’s request by over $1 billion. This includes a 17 percent increase for NOAA climate research activities in the form of coastal zone management grants, national coastal resiliency fund grants, and coastal science and assessment programs. In their opening statements, several members addressed the need to mitigate climate change and extreme weather events. Subcommittee Chairman José Serrano (NY-15) stated, “The president’s request proposed drastic cuts to climate change research and mitigation programs. This bill rejects those proposals and instead adds investments to ensure that the United States is a leader in addressing climate change.” Representative Charles Crist (FL-13) touted the bill’s ability to address issues, such as “harmful [algal] blooms, weather forecasting, fishery management, and coastal resiliency.” NSF NSF would see $8.64 billion, which is $561.1 million over the FY 2019 enacted level and $1.6 billion above the president’s budget request. The committee stressed the importance of growing the education component of science agencies, such as NSF. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-8) indicated the record-high allocation would help ensure the United States remains a global leader in scientific research. NASA The $22.32 billion that would be appropriated to NASA represents an $815 million increase over the FY 2019 enacted level and $1.3 billion above the initial president’s request. This includes funds for the Science Mission Directorate ($7.16 billion) and STEM engagement programs ($123 million). Within the Science Mission Directorate, over $2 billion is included for NASA Earth Science, also an increase from the FY 2019 level. Other Agencies The legislation requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to better coordinate data across the government “in an effort to create more forward-looking building standards that are resistant to climate change and extreme weather events.” It also funds the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy at the President’s budget request of $5 million, with a direction to develop a strategic approach to addressing similar measures. This morning, the committee released their committee report. You can read more details here. Quotable: “To combat climate change, the bill would invest in NOAA climate research activities and coastal resiliency, to ensure the public and our shorelines are better protected when disaster strikes.” – Chairwoman Nita Lowey (NY-20) “To ensure our nation’s science agencies have the resources needed to ensure our continued leadership and innovation, this bill adds significant funding to NASA, the National Science Foundation, and NIST.” – Subcommittee Chairman José Serrano (NY-15) “…a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on overall spending caps is needed for us to make real progress.” – Ranking Member Kay Granger (TX-12) Next Steps: The House CJS subcommittee approved its FY 2020 bill by voice vote. The full committee markup will be held on Wednesday, May 22. Find Out More Watch the full hearing Read the detailed bill summary Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership     FY20 House Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Testimony Rough Waters For President’s NOAA Budget Proposal Overview Of The President’s FY 2020 Budget Request Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post CJS Appropriations Bill Supports Broad Increases to Science Funding appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
05/21/2019 - 14:16
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Rhonda Baer/National Cancer Institute) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The Task Force on American Innovation (TFAI) held a congressional briefing to mark the release of their 2019 benchmark report, Second Place America? Increasing Challenges to U.S. Scientific Leadership. Experts with experience in academia, industry, government, and nonprofit organizations discussed the main points of the report, as well as their reactions to its finding. Why It Matters In their 2019 report, TFAI showed that the United States has either fallen behind or will soon fall behind competitor nations in global leadership of science and technology. According to the report, the United States faces major challenges in terms of research and development (R&D); science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education; and the scientific workforce. However, while other nations are increasing their investments in these areas to support innovation, the United States is not — particularly for ocean science, for which funding has been decreasing relative to gross domestic product since 1972. To keep up with other nations’ scientific enterprises and support our own economic growth, the United States must address these shortcomings. Key Points As the panel contemplated the myriad challenges to the United States’ science and technology leadership, they agreed that maintaining or regaining our competitive advantage will require more effective partnerships between industry, academia, and the federal government. Mr. Eric Fanning (President and CEO, Aerospace Industries Association), speaking as someone who has worked in both government and industry, underscored the importance of federal investment in basic research. While industry funds and develops applied research, they are often building on basic research from government or academia that originally had few incentives for industry to pursue, he explained. Unified cooperation between these groups, panelists said, will maximize investment impact and help to combat what they see as the main threats to our scientific leadership. The panel was in consensus that sustaining and growing America’s science and technology workforce is one of the biggest issues our scientific enterprise faces, with Mr. Fanning referring to it as the “biggest strategic concern” to American innovation. Panelists pointed to several current and upcoming threats to sustaining the education-workforce pipeline. Mr. John Neuffer (President and CEO, Semiconductor Industry Association) spoke on the large number of jobs that remain unfilled in some STEM industries, while Dr. Michael McQuade (Vice President for Research, Carnegie Mellon University) cited the report’s finding that American 15-year-olds are less STEM-literate than many of their foreign counterparts, with comprehension scores falling well below those of the top-performing countries. According to the panel, this trend could portend a growing deficit of the STEM workforce — if students are either not interested in STEM learning, or do not have skills comparable to their international counterparts when reaching post-secondary institutions, they are less likely to successfully pursue a STEM career. To address this, panelists urged more investment in K-12 STEM engagement, particularly by offering hands-on programs and opportunities for young people to learn what a life and career in science could look like. Dr. Nadya Bliss (Director, Global Security Initiative, Arizona State University) also noted there are additional barriers to getting and retaining underrepresented communities into STEM fields, emphasizing that investments should focus on making sure anyone who wants to receive a STEM education has the resources to do so. Retention of foreign-born scientists, panelists explained, is just as important as growing and maintaining our domestic talent. Dr. McQuade and Mr. Neuffer suggested that incentivizing researchers from peer, near-peer, and competitor nations who receive post-secondary degrees in the United States to stay would help maintain and grow the American scientific enterprise. The panel urged, not only for increased, sustained, predictable, and reliable federal investments, but for a change to our funding model. Competitor nations, such as China, do not follow the same funding model as the United States, allowing them to plan for long-term investment in a way that our nation cannot. The panel agreed that if the United States wishes to stay a global leader in R&D, it must commit to revising its funding model. Quotable “Investment in research is only one of the solutions, but it’s an important one.” — Tobin Smith (Vice President for Policy, Association for American Universities) “We benefit from the global enterprise — the free exchange of information is good for innovation and competition.” — Dr. Michael McQuade (Vice President for Research, Carnegie Mellon University) “Culturally, as a country, we need to have scientific role models for kids. We need to show them what a life in science can be.” — Dr. Nadya Bliss (Director, Global Security Initiative, Arizona State University) Related Coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership Letter In Support Of Strong Ocean Science Funding in FY 2020 House Lawmakers Call For Better STEM Education Future STEMs From Education Diversifying The STEM Workforce Comments On “National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Research and Development (R&D) Plan” Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post Second Place America? appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
05/21/2019 - 10:00
More than half of British homeowners feed birds, maintaining 133 species The increasingly appetising buffet provided for garden birds, from sunflower hearts to suet cakes, is supporting a rising number and greater diversity of species in Britain’s urban areas, according to research. In the 1970s, half of all birds using garden feeders belonged to just two species, the sparrow and starling, but by the 2010s the number of species making up the same proportion had tripled, with goldfinches, woodpigeons and long-tailed tits soaring in number because of the food on offer. Continue reading...
05/21/2019 - 09:42
Fears that predicted influx of climate deniers would obstruct action on environment An influx of climate-denying far-right MEPs could pose a “toxic” threat to EU climate policy after the European elections, according to senior MEPs and academics. Populist parties are expected to take up to a third of the parliamentary seats in Thursday’s vote, with Matteo Salvini’s League in contention to be the largest single party, and Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (RN) overtaking Emmanuel Macron’s La République En Marche in some polls. Continue reading...
05/21/2019 - 08:47
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR) (From Duke University/ By Tim Lucas) — Tropical and subtropical fish are taking up residence on shipwrecks and other sunken structures off the North Carolina coast. This pattern may continue or even accelerate in coming years given predictions of warming oceans under climate change, a new study co-led by Duke University scientists suggests. “The artificial reefs created by these structures may be acting as stepping stones for fish that are moving northward and living at the edge of their geographic range, or beyond it, in search of suitable habitat,” said Avery B. Paxton, a visiting scholar at the Duke University Marine Laboratory, who was lead author of the study. “Globally, there is broad evidence that many tropical fish species are shifting their ranges poleward and to deeper waters in response to changing ocean conditions, and what we see on these reefs seems to fit that pattern,” she said. One of the most surprising findings of the study is that the tropical and subtropical fish observed off North Carolina exhibit a strong preference for… Read the full article here: The post Member Highlight: Artificial Reefs Off NC Coast May Be Havens For Tropical Fish On The Move appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
05/21/2019 - 07:41
Southern African countries to appeal to watchdog for permission to sell stockpiled ivory worth more than £230m Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia are making a fresh appeal for a global watchdog to lift restrictive measures on the trade in raw ivory. The watchdog, Cites, prohibits unregulated commercial trade in endangered species around the world. Continue reading...
05/21/2019 - 07:11
DJ and producer wants to banish ‘disconnect’ between climate issues and daily life One of dance music’s rising stars is swapping the decks for a microphone to deliver a series of talks about the importance of environmental sciences to help tackle the climate crisis. Jayda G – real name Jayda Guy – is a Canadian DJ and music producer whose livestreamed mixes on YouTube clock up thousands of views, and now she is fusing two worlds by using her platform to expose fans to issues affecting the natural world. Continue reading...
05/21/2019 - 07:00
Lower-income and minority communities are exposed to majority of the pollution coming from waste-burning plants, report finds A total of 1.6 million Americans live next to the most polluting incinerators in the country, with lower-income and minority communities exposed to the vast majority of pollution coming from these waste-burning plants. The burning of household and commercial waste can give off a stew of pollutants, including mercury, lead and small particles of soot. This pollution isn’t evenly distributed, however. Of the 73 incinerators across the US, 79% are located within three miles of low-income and minority neighbourhoods, according to research by the Tishman Environment and Design Center at New York City’s New School. Continue reading...
05/21/2019 - 03:00
Ocean Leadership ~ Wow Man …. That’s Deep Last week, Victor Vescovo took a 35,853-foot dive in a submersible into the Mariana Trench’s Challenger Deep, setting the record for deepest dive in history in the process. A few weeks ago, Katie Bouman became a household name when she, along with an international team, announced their success in imaging the first black hole. Both of these discoveries show the continuing need to explore distant stars, galaxies, and black holes, as well as our ocean, which we know so little about, especially when you consider life on Earth depends upon it. Unfortunately, one of these accomplishments also highlighted the negative impact we’re having on our planet. While exploring the ocean floor four hours below the surface, Vescovo made a startling find — “man-made contamination,” or trash.  As we continue to explore our ocean, it’s clear there must also be parallel efforts to clean up and restore its natural health and beauty. Maybe we’ll learn from our ocean mistakes and do a better job with the rest of the universe. It’s not just technologies that are advancing and letting us discover new depths and astronomical objects — there are also changes in who is doing the exploring. Back in 1960, Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard set the record for the deepest ocean dive, which was carried out with extensive federally funded, developed, and operated technology by the U.S. Navy. In comparison, Vescovo is a private American businessman. Investments by philanthropists, particularly when it comes to ocean exploration, are growing in terms of capability, capacity, and importance, and we’re pleased to have some of these philanthropic organizations, such as the Moore Foundation and Vulcan, Inc., as COL members. As was discussed repeatedly at our recent Public Policy Forum, the future of ocean policy requires the inclusion of, and partnership activities by, the broad stakeholder spectrum, including philanthropists, academia, industry, aquariums, and the federal government.  This will give us the best possible chance to clean up the messes we’ve made in ocean and to develop future ocean policies that ensure a well-understood, healthy, productive ocean … and maybe even oceans on other planets at some point. Artificial Reefs Off NC Coast May Be Havens For Tropical Fish On The Move Tropical and subtropical fish are taking up residence on shipwrecks and other sunken structures off the North Carolina coast. This pattern may continue or even accelerate in coming years given predictions of warming oceans under climate change, a new study co-led by Duke University scientists suggests. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 05-20-2019 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
05/21/2019 - 01:10
Joint venture aims to turn Alcoa’s open-cut mine site into Anglesea project near Great Ocean Road A UK charity that redeveloped a china clay quarry in Cornwall into a major ecotourism project has its eyes on Alcoa’s former coalmine in Anglesea, Victoria. The Eden Project and Alcoa announced a plan to turn a portion of the site into a $150m ecotourism attraction based around Anglesea’s coastal location. They say they will seek input from the community. Continue reading...