Breaking Waves: Ocean News

12/18/2018 - 08:51
Government confirms anyone who adds solar from April 2019 will not be paid for excess electricity exported to grid The government has said households that install solar panels in the future will be expected to give away unused clean power for free to energy firms earning multimillion-pound profits, provoking outrage from green campaigners. The mayor of London, big energy firms and environmentalists had urged ministers not to end the “export tariff” for solar panels under the feed-in tariff scheme, which is closing next year. Continue reading...
12/18/2018 - 08:47
Rare species of snail found near A47 will be monitored in new home until 2023 Snails with legally protected status could delay a road scheme by five years as a project to rehome them is kept under observation. Ditches alongside a section of the A47 in Norfolk are a habitat for little whirlpool ramshorn snails, whose shells measure just a few millimetres in diameter. Continue reading...
12/18/2018 - 01:00
Europe told if it does not act it will be ‘turning blind eye to genocide’ under Bolsonaro Brazil’s foremost indigenous leader has called on the EU to impose trade sanctions to prevent ecological disaster and a “social extermination” by her country’s far-right president-elect, who takes office on 1 January. Jair Bolsonaro has terrified indigenous communities by promising to take every centimetre of their land, designate rights activists as “terrorists” and carve a motorway through the Amazon, which could deforest an area larger than Germany. Continue reading...
12/18/2018 - 01:00
Far-right government vows to legalise mining and commercial farming on indigenous Yanomami land The indigenous leader and campaigning photographer who fought to create Brazil’s biggest tribal reserve warned it could be threatened under the far-right government of the president-elect, Jair Bolsonaro, as a major retrospective exhibition opens. Bolsonaro has said the Yanomami reserve, which at 9.6m hectares (24m acres) is twice the size of Switzerland, was too big for its indigenous population. Continue reading...
12/17/2018 - 19:28
But charity vows to ‘fight tooth and nail’ to protect Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire from fracking by Ineos The National Trust has withdrawn its legal opposition to seismic surveying by Ineos at Clumber Park but has vowed to fight to protect the site from fracking. The energy firm Ineos won the right this year to pursue a high court action to gain access to the Grade I-registered country park in Nottinghamshire for surveying, as part of efforts to assess the area for shale gas. Continue reading...
12/17/2018 - 19:01
Top prize goes to 90.5%, the proportion of plastic waste that has never been recycled The environment, Jaffa Cakes and the reality star Kylie Jenner all feature in 2018’s statistics of the year. Among more serious statistics relating to poverty, gender equality and climate change, the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) highlighted the power of social media and McVitie’s slashing the number of Jaffa Cakes in its Christmas tube. Continue reading...
12/17/2018 - 19:01
Government strategy to make ‘polluter pay’, with penalties for difficult to recycle items Retailers and producers of packaging will be forced to pay the full cost of collecting and recycling it under the government’s new waste strategy. Supermarkets and other retailers could be charged penalties for putting difficult to recycle packaging – such as black plastic trays – on the market as part of the strategy, which aims to make the “polluter pay”. They would be charged lower fees for packaging that was easy to reuse or recycle. Continue reading...
12/17/2018 - 16:02
Ocean Leadership ~ Walls and Narwhals The Arctic is host to a number of unique animals, including the “unicorn of the sea” – a narwhal, a whale species with a tooth that grows into a nearly nine-foot long spiral tusk. But this region is more than just a home for these marine mammals, it is also critical to our country’s national security. Arctic nations are jostling for a foothold in the region, where the climate is changing faster than anywhere else in the world (NOAA just reported that the Arctic Ocean has lost 95 percent of its oldest and thickest sea ice) and geo-temporal maritime access steadily increases. But the United States may be out-jostled and outsmarted in terms of ocean knowledge and maritime presence, as attempts to rejuvenate our aging and undersized icebreaker fleet vacillate. Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to develop infrastructure (including new icebreakers) and set forth deliberate plans to increase their Arctic presence and knowledge at an alarming rate. This inconsistency in our nation’s Arctic investments flies in the face of our National Security Strategy that states “China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity” and our National Defense Strategy that states “the central challenge to U.S. prosperity and security is the reemergence of long-term, strategic competition” – chiefly Russia and China. Ocean scientists and technologists across our country (and throughout our allied nations) strive to conduct essential research and development as we attempt to understand the changing Arctic in numerous aspects that impact national, homeland, energy, and food securities (ocean security). But that requires access to the region where ice, ocean, and atmospheric dynamics are all rapidly evolving, and the need for increased icebreaker capacity to ensure safe and effective access and presence is well documented. Last week, the House introduced a new FY 2019 spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would scrap a program to expand our icebreaker presence (previous bills introduced in the House and Senate included $750 million for it) but fully funds the southern border wall at the $5 billion requested by the president. It is imperative we recognize the critical importance of the Arctic region to our national security and the dire consequences that will come from ignoring it – or being unable to access it, understand it, and ensure its health and prosperity going forward (which are all tied to ocean security concerns). Congress and the president must fund our icebreaker program; the Arctic may have its own “unicorns,” but that doesn’t make the security challenges make-believe. If we’re not careful, we may end up with an Arctic without narwhals or U.S. presence and leadership, which are desperately needed in this maritime region of rapidly growing strategic, economic, and environmental importance. Member Highlight Stanford Researchers Uncover Startling Insights Into How Human-Generated Carbon Dioxide Could Reshape Oceans Something peculiar is happening in the azure waters off the rocky cliffs of Ischia, Italy. There, streams of gas-filled volcanic bubbles rising up to the surface are radically changing life around them by making seawater acidic. Stanford researchers studying species living near these gassy vents have learned what it takes to survive in acidic waters, providing a glimpse of what future oceans might look like as they grow more acidic Read our most recent and past newsletters here: http://oceanleadership.org/newsletter-archive/ The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 12-17-2018 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/17/2018 - 15:36
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Pasquale Vassallo / Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn) Volcanic carbon dioxide vents off the coast of Italy are rapidly acidifying nearby waters. This natural laboratory provides a crystal ball-view into potential future marine biodiversity impacts around the world. (From Stanford University/ By Nicole Kravec) — Something peculiar is happening in the azure waters off the rocky cliffs of Ischia, Italy. There, streams of gas-filled volcanic bubbles rising up to the surface are radically changing life around them by making seawater acidic. Stanford researchers studying species living near these gassy vents have learned what it takes to survive in acidic waters, providing a glimpse of what future oceans might look like as they grow more acidic. Their findings, published December 11 in Nature Communications, suggest that ocean acidification driven by human-caused carbon dioxide emissions could have a larger impact than previously thought. “When an organism’s environment becomes more acidic, it can dramatically impact not only that species, but the overall ecosystem’s resilience, function and stability,” said Stanford marine biologist Fiorenza Micheli, lead author on the paper. “These transformations ultimately impact people, especially our food chains.” A natural laboratory Most ocean acidification studies to date have taken place in laboratories, making it impossible to assess how whole ecosystems comprised of multiple, interacting species would be affected. The real-life laboratory provided researchers an opportunity to examine dozens of species, from sea urchins to marine snails, that live in areas of different acidity along Ischia’s volcanic carbon dioxide vents. In addition to studying how species diversity changed with acidification, they analyzed… Read the full article here: https://news.stanford.edu/2018/12/11/glimpse-future-oceans/ The post Member Highlight: Stanford Researchers Uncover Startling Insights Into How Human-Generated Carbon Dioxide Could Reshape Oceans appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
12/17/2018 - 12:00
Australia leads the world in extinction rates and now our protected habitats are at risk. That’s neglect My favourite national park: tell us why it’s important to you Australia has the most extraordinary national parks, home to our unique wildlife, deserts, mountains, forests and sacred icons such as Uluru. We are rightly proud of them. It’s hard to pick a favourite. But I do love Wilsons Promontory, where the wombats reign supreme, and getting one of these inquisitive fellows out of your tent after a late-night incursion is quite an adventure. Continue reading...