Breaking Waves: Ocean News

12/11/2018 - 11:27
Exclusive: Sadiq Khan accuses government of dragging its feet and calls for investment to avert catastrophe London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, has declared a climate emergency and urged the UK government to do more to avert an ecological breakdown that he says poses an existential threat to future generations. Speaking as City Hall outlined its new climate change plan, Khan said he was implementing measures to protect people from floods, fires and the political upheaval caused by climate change. He accused central government of “dragging its feet” on dealing with these issues. Continue reading...
12/11/2018 - 11:25
Seismic air guns could harm dolphins and whales ‘This action is unlawful and we’re going to stop it’ Environmental groups have sued the Trump administration over offshore drilling tests, which could harm hundreds of thousands of marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. The lawsuit filed in federal court in Charleston, South Carolina, claims the National Marine Fisheries Service violated the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act when it issued five permits for the use of seismic air guns. Continue reading...
12/11/2018 - 10:42
Nasa detects ice retreat probably linked to ocean changes in region once thought stable A group of glaciers spanning an eighth of the East Antarctica coastline are being melted by the warming seas, scientists have discovered. This Antarctic region stores a vast amount of ice, which, if lost, would in the long-term raise global sea level by tens of metres and drown coastal settlements around the world. Continue reading...
12/11/2018 - 10:03
Minor quake near Cuadrilla site is on par with one in 2011 that led to moratorium Residents of Blackpool have reported feeling the tremors of an earthquake from nearby fracking operations that started two months ago. The minor earthquake was not only the biggest yet but was on a par with one in 2011 that led to a moratorium on fracking. Continue reading...
12/11/2018 - 09:08
Gilet jaunes protests cast shadow as concerns raised over backlash against rapid change Scientists have laid down the gauntlet for political leaders as the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, wrestles with the challenge of cutting emissions without sparking social tensions like those seen recently in France. The UN climate talks – known as COP24 and the most important since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015 – aim to set a new rulebook for governments to reduce greenhouse gases and to raise ambitions, after warnings of dire consequences if global warming rises more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Continue reading...
12/11/2018 - 03:37
Indigenous and youth groups disrupted a US-sponsored event at the UN climate talks in Poland. Wells Griffith, a Trump administration adviser speaking on a panel, said the US would continue extracting fossil fuels and warned against ‘alarmism’ over climate change. Climate expert Andrew Light, from the World Resources Institute, said the panel’s discussion would have no impact on the outcome of the COP24 climate talks and it only proved that ‘once again the United States is isolated with respect to the global community on this critically important issue’ Continue reading...
12/10/2018 - 17:08
Country’s stance described as ‘a slap in the face of our Pacific island neighbours’ Australia has reaffirmed its commitment to coal – and its unwavering support for the United States – by appearing at a US government-run event promoting the use of fossil fuels at the United Nations climate talks in Poland. Australia was the only country apart from the host represented at the event, entitled “US innovative technologies spur economic dynamism”, designed to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible, as well as the use of emission-free nuclear energy”. Continue reading...
12/10/2018 - 15:45
Ocean Leadership ~ Last week, I traveled to Ottawa to give a presentation on ocean security and climate change as it relates to Canadian security and defense concerns. Unlike many ocean-focused events where I talk on this topic, other speakers at The Year Ahead, An International Security, Intelligence and Defense Outlook for 2019 presented a broad range of global security issues, from the rising threat of nuclear warfare and weapons of mass destruction to cyber warfare and election security to global financial crisis concerns and social unrest. I was pleased at how well received the topic of ocean security was and how attendees across the security spectrum considered this issue at least as concerning as the others that were presented. The Canadian defense sector, along with many international security and intelligence agencies, fully understands the ocean health threats we face now and their implications for our security and safety today. Unfortunately, there are many people outside the sector who view the threat of a changing climate as a bleak future scenario, such as the one in Bladerunner 2049, where rising waters force the construction of a sea wall around Los Angeles. But we’re seeing the effects of a changing climate now, from rising seas and increased flooding to shifting ranges of plants and animals (including those we depend upon for food). Or consider the village of Newtok, Alaska, whose citizens are relocating further inland due to rapid erosion and thawing permafrost — and first made the decision to move almost 15 years ago. To solve the challenges in front of us, we must support the advancement of ocean science and technology — in both investments and policies that equate to real action and problem solving. For this to happen, it is critical that a stable funding environment exists; currently, NSF, NOAA, and NASA’s funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2019 is uncertain, as Congress is still working to come to an agreement on the remaining spending bills (including Commerce-Justice-Science) after passing a two-week stopgap measure last week. I’m looking forward to learning more about new ocean science and technology research that will help us solve these challenges at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting this week. If you’re one of the approximately 24,000 people attending, come say hello to COL in the exhibit hall at booth 1440. Member Highlight Study Shows How Mussels Handle Microplastic Fiber New research shows that mussels readily take in microplastic pollution fibers from the ocean but quickly flush most of them out again, according to a study by researchers from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences. The findings were published in December’s Marine Pollution Bulletin. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: http://oceanleadership.org/newsletter-archive/ The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 12-10-2018 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/10/2018 - 13:50
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Petty Officer 3rd Class George Degener / U.S. Coast Guard) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was    The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard held a hearing titled: “Preparing for Maritime Transportation in a Changing Arctic.” Why It Matters Warming temperatures in the Arctic are melting once unnavigable ice-covered terrain into viable maritime transportation routes. Vessel traffic is poised to increase due to a lengthening ice-free season; however, critical infrastructure needed to support safe shipping does not exist. Challenges in the region, which were discussed during the hearing, include the lack of a nearby American deep water port for search and rescue, pollution, Arctic security responses, icebreaking capabilities, outdated hydrographic survey data, and limited communication operations. These hardships and lack of infrastructure not only jeopardize coastal Arctic communities but also national and ocean security. Key Points There was resounding agreement among subcommittee members and witnesses that more infrastructure and port capacity will be critical to the evolving role of transportation in Arctic waters. Capt. Edward Page (Executive Director, Marine Exchange of Alaska) stated that with the nearest U.S. Coast Guard station hundreds of miles away, emergency response to oil spills or tourism traffic in the Arctic would be far more challenging than anywhere else in the nation. The lack of communication infrastructure is also a major hinderance. An extensive Automatic Identification System (AIS) composed of over 130 vessel-tracking receiver stations in Alaska provides information on maritime activity in the Arctic to the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the state of Alaska, and other maritime stakeholders to help assess and monitor vessel operations. The issue, however, is that there are no communication capabilities with these vessels. Mr./Dr. Willie Goodwin (Chairman, Arctic Waterways Safety Committee) emphasized that there is no way to warn these large vessels if they are entering waters with local residents in small craft or to communicate with them if they are in distress. Polar Security Cutters (PSC) – formally known as polar icebreakers – were also discussed as a necessity for the U.S. Coast Guard to be able to adequately patrol and enforce safe maritime transportation in the Arctic. Ms. Kathy Metcalf (President and CEO, Chamber of Shipping of America) spoke about enhancing U.S. icebreaking capabilities in the Arctic, as well as in the Great Lakes. Ranking Member Tammy Baldwin (WI) reiterated this point and added that enhancing icebreaking capability will benefit the economy by maximizing the operational seasons in both the Arctic and Great Lakes. Mr. Andrew Hartsig (Director, Arctic Program, Ocean Conservancy) pointed out that Alaskans have experienced major oil spills and understand what is at stake when “risks become reality.” Averting accidents in the Arctic is imperative due to harsh conditions preventing immediate response efforts. Mr. Hartsig provided ideas for bolstering preparedness and response capacity – including additional vessel routing measures, better preparing the local community to respond to emergencies, and continuing support for construction of new Polar Security Cutters. Quotable “The potential in the Arctic is hard to fully quantify. From more efficient shipping routes to supporting and enabling America’s blue economy, the Arctic is a great resource – one for which we must begin preparing for today to ensure we can maximize its potential while also protecting its environmental integrity and importance.” — Chairman Dan Sullivan (AK) “The Arctic is home to coastal maritime communities working on the water in small craft. The Arctic also is a frontier where thousands of people are now traveling in large vessels in poorly charted waters. Our federal government can work with us to support the approach we are taking, putting safety measures and infrastructure in place before the unthinkable happens. Or our federal government can take responsibility for addressing human disaster in one of the harshest environments on earth, without infrastructure or even communications capabilities.” — Mr. Willie Goodwin (Chairman, Arctic Waterways Safety Committee) Find Out More Watch the full hearing Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership           The Future Of The Fleets Ocean Policy Roundtable: What’s Marine Transportation Got To Do With It? How Ordinary Ship Traffic Could Help Map The Uncharted Arctic Ocean Seafloor Icebreakers on Thin Ice Breaking The Ice For Coast Guard Authorization Arctic Domain Topic Of Defense Forum U.S. Coast Guard’s Role In Maritime Security Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post The Arctic: A New Maritime Frontier appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/10/2018 - 13:39
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed While the October recess leading up to the 2018 midterm elections left Congress with few legislative days in October and November, several important ocean science bills were signed into law. The Save Our Seas (SOS) Act of 2018 (S. 3508; P.L. 115-265), signed into law on Oct. 11, takes the first steps in addressing the growing global issue of marine debris by reauthorizing the Marine Debris Program under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and promoting international collaboration to combat ocean plastic pollution. The bill includes language allowing for the creation of a Coast Guard Blue Technology Center of Expertise, which came out of a hearing where Rear Adm. Jonathan White (President and CEO, Consortium for Ocean Leadership) and others testified on the importance of blue technology to understanding the ocean and how the U.S. Coast Guard’s missions are supported by robust ocean knowledge. The Water Resources Development Act, America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021; P.L. 115-270) was also signed into law, authorizing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers water resources projects in flood risk management, navigation, hurricane and storm damage risk reduction, and environmental restoration. At the end of September, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that included an extension for the National Flood Insurance Program Further Extension Act of 2018 (H.R. 7187; P.L. 115-281), further extending the National Flood Insurance Program’s authorization to Dec. 7, 2018. Additionally, the Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018 (S. 140; P.L. 115-282) passed both chambers and was signed into law. This bill authorizes the U.S. Coast Guard and the Federal Maritime Commission through Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, reauthorizes NOAA’s hydrographic services program through FY 2023, and modifies the regulation of vessel incidental discharge and ballast water. What’s New In the Senate, the Facilitate Addressing Issues with Regulating Forced Labor in International Seafood Harvesting (FAIR FISH) Act (S. 3641) was introduced to combat human trafficking in connection with catching and processing seafood obtained through illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. What’s Next A partial government shutdown was narrowly avoided on December 7, 2018 with Congress passing another short-term CR extending FY 2018 spending levels until December 21, 2018. Congress must then pass FY 2019 appropriations or another CR to avoid a government shutdown. In August, The Commercial Engagement Through Ocean Through Ocean Technology (CENOTE) Act of 2018 (S. 2511) was received in the House after passing the Senate and is scheduled for a vote on December 10, 2018. Any bills not signed into law by the end of this Congress must be reintroduced in the 116th Congress to be considered. Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership September’s Congressional Wrap Up August’s Congressional Wrap Up Our Plastic Ocean Jon White – From the President’s Office: 05-14-2018 Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post October And November’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.