Breaking Waves: Ocean News

06/18/2019 - 05:24
Protests planned as People’s party rolls back key policy of Spanish capital’s former mayor Madrid’s new rightwing city council has begun rolling back one of the flagship initiatives of the last mayor three days after taking office by in effect shutting down the Spanish capital’s low-emissions zone. The plan, known as Madrid Central, covers 472 hectares (1,166 acres) and was intended to cut nitrogen dioxide levels and put people at the centre of the city’s transport thinking. Continue reading...
06/18/2019 - 02:35
Proposals, including lowering M25 and rerouting rivers, raise fears of environmental impact The scale of the disruption from Heathrow airport’s expansion project has been revealed with the publication of detailed plans to lower the M25 for the third runway to cross, reroute rivers, replace utilities and build car parks for nearly 50,000 cars. A 12-week public consultation opened on Tuesday at 8am, with campaigners warning of the severe impact for years to come of more than 700 extra planes in the sky after 2026, when the runway is due to open. Continue reading...
06/18/2019 - 00:01
Government backs only voluntary measures for clothing industry despite rising environmental costs Ministers have rejected recommendations from MPs to clean up the huge environmental impact of fast fashion, which sees 300,000 tonnes of clothing burned or buried in the UK every year. MPs on the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said a charge of 1p for each garment was urgently needed to raise £35m a year for better clothing collection and sorting, a move supported by many in the industry. But the government’s response, published on Tuesday, failed to commit to this, stating only that it could be considered by 2025. Continue reading...
06/18/2019 - 00:00
A booming seal population is drawing the apex predator to the Massachusetts peninsula where contact with humans follows When beachgoers arrive at Cahoon Hollow Beach in Wellfleet on Massachusetts’ Cape Cod peninsula, the first thing they see is a large sign displaying a photo of a great white shark. It reads: “WARNING. Great white sharks hunt seals in the shallow water at this beach. People have been seriously injured or killed by sharks along this coastline.” Continue reading...
06/17/2019 - 23:39
It’s a ‘fairly rare’ event, arachnology expert says, as it’s more common to see huntsman eat small birds or frogs. Prepare for Tasmania’s spider possum Pygmy possums usually aren’t on the menu for huntsman spiders. But an Australian man from Tasmania has captured the rare moment a huntsman attempted to devour a tiny possum at a lodge in the Mount Field national park, 64 km north-west of Hobart. Continue reading...
06/17/2019 - 18:56
Research teams traversing partially melted fjord to retrieve weather equipment release startling picture Rapidly melting sea ice in Greenland has presented an unusual hazard for research teams retrieving their oceanographic moorings and weather station equipment. A photo, taken by Steffen Olsen from the Centre for Ocean and Ice at the Danish Meteorological Institute on 13 June, showed sled dogs wading through water ankle-deep on top of a melting ice sheet in the country’s north-west. In the startling image, it seems as though the dogs are walking on water. Continue reading...
06/17/2019 - 15:20
Ocean Leadership ~ Photo: Alli drawing blood from a juvenile green sea turtle. Green sea turtles also nest on the Florida coast and have seen a tremendous increase in numbers over the last 30 years. Jon took the Father’s Day weekend to heart, so please enjoy the inaugural “Alli’s Alley” from our own in-house sea turtle expert — President’s Corner to return next week. Turtles on the way up!  Sometimes, it seems like the world’s problems are too large for an individual to really make a difference. Will recycling this bottle really help our ocean plastic problem? Does taking public transportation rather than driving really reduce emissions that much? But every now and then, meaningful good news about the ocean reminds me that we can each make a difference, and we should never stop trying. A story that inspired me last week described a comeback by loggerhead sea turtles nesting on the Atlantic coast. A few short decades ago, many scientists feared these gentle giants could be on the brink of extinction. Now, thanks in large part to conservation efforts — from protecting individual nests to using turtle excluder devices on fish and shrimp nets to increasing environmental protections (including listing them under the Endangered Species Act) — subpopulations of loggerheads from Florida through the Carolinas are on the rise. After spending a few years doing sea turtle research myself, I know that there are thousands of scientists, researchers, volunteers, and policymakers throughout the decades who have contributed to this comeback, to whom I’m endlessly thankful. It’s good news indeed, just in time for World Sea Turtle Day. Meet The Machines That Could Unlock The Ocean’s Deepest Secrets These autonomous subsea robots may someday predict storms, detect oil leaks, locate shipwrecks, and slow down climate change. In 2016, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a global competition sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell plc, announced it would dole out $7 million to the technologies that could demonstrably advance the knowledge of the Earth’s most mysterious frontier: the ocean. Announced in June, the winner was the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO)-Nippon Foundation (NF) alumni, a diverse union of scientists made up of members from 14 different countries, all graduates from the University of New Hampshire’s postgraduate program in ocean bathymetry. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: http://oceanleadership.org/newsletter-archive/ The post Allison Hays – From the Public Affairs Office: 06-17-2019 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
06/17/2019 - 13:00
Essential poll finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants and 40% oppose them Australians are slightly more inclined to support nuclear power plants than oppose them, but a clear majority of voters do not want to live near one, according to new polling. With nuclear power making a return to the national political agenda, a new survey from Essential finds 44% of Australians support nuclear power plants, up four points since the question was last asked in November 2015, and 40% oppose them. Continue reading...
06/17/2019 - 12:18
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Ionna22/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a hearing titled, “Building a 21st Century American Offshore Wind Workforce.” Why It Matters As the offshore wind industry expands — there are currently 15 active leases in the Atlantic — it is crucial that we understand the impact of growth and related infrastructure on the environment, economy, and local communities. The expansion of America’s offshore wind industry would not only provide a domestic source of clean, renewable energy but also the potential for thousands of new jobs. Several states have already committed to expanding offshore wind capabilities, and continued workforce development is needed to fully capture the benefits of this industry. Key Points The legislative hearing focused on the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act (H.R. 3068) and the impact it could have on the United States’ nascent offshore wind enterprise. Block Island Wind Farm, the first commercial offshore wind farm, has created more than 300 jobs to-date and uses just five turbines to power 17,000 homes in Rhode Island, shared Mr. Michael Williams (Interim Co-Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance). Dr. Stephanie McClellan (Director, Special Initiative on Offshore Wind) stated that seven states on the Atlantic seaboard have collectively committed to creating nearly 20 gigawatts of wind power by 2030. The manufacturing and installation of these offshore wind turbines would present an almost $70 billion revenue opportunity to businesses in the United States offshore wind power supply chain. The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act would establish a federal grant program to educate and train the next generation of American offshore wind workers by prioritizing grants to community colleges, organizations that service minority populations, and those helping workers from other industries transition to the offshore wind industry. Representative Bill Keating (MA-9), the bill’s sponsor, served as a witness and spoke about the projected job growth of the offshore wind industry, which could employ more than 36,000 workers within a decade. He expressed the need for a federal training program to develop a domestic workforce, as offshore wind projects rely on skilled labor and advanced manufacturing for construction, installation, maintenance, and operations. Dr. Christopher Hart (President and Managing Director, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind, LLC; and Head of U.S. Offshore Wind Development, EDF Renewables North America) emphasized that economic growth and job training needs are not limited to states where turbines are located. He shared how the offshore wind industry could be strengthened by leveraging existing infrastructure and supply chain expertise from the offshore oil and gas sector and by utilizing transferrable skills shared from the onshore wind industry. Ms. Lisa Linowes (Executive Director, WindAction Group) cautioned the subcommittee on the cost-competitiveness of offshore wind energy compared to conventional energy resources and spoke about projections inflating new job creation number and potentially estimating job benefits. Quotable “Offshore wind is good for our planet, it is good for our economy, and it is good for national security.”— Chairman Alan Lowenthal (CA-47) “Today, we will discuss H.R. 3068, the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act, sponsored by Representative Keating. This legislation would authorize $25 million dollars per year for five years for job training grants administered by the Department of Interior for the offshore wind sector. While I support all of the above energy strategy, which includes offshore wind development, I have several concerns about this legislation which I hope we can discuss in detail today. ”— Ranking Member Paul Gosar (AZ-4) “As the offshore wind industry grows, it is equally important to ensure that projects are developed responsibly, with strong protections in place for coastal and marine wildlife. We support the development of science-based best management practices for offshore wind development and believe that environmental mitigation must be a key priority for any project.”— Mr. Michael Williams (Interim Co-Executive Director, BlueGreen Alliance) Next Steps The Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act (H.R. 3068) awaits subcommittee markup. If the bill is approved by the subcommittee, it will move to the full committee for consideration. Find Out More Watch the full hearing Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership           Member Highlight: Offshore Wind Farms Could Protect Coastlines Jon White – From the President’s Office: 05-27-2019 Buoying Our Nation’s Economy: The Role Of Ocean Data In Supporting The Blue Economy Second Place America? Tapping Into Our Blue Economy A Sea Of Change The State Of Our Ocean Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post Offshore Wind Workforce Development On The Horizon appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
06/17/2019 - 11:39
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: NOAA/PIFSC/HMSRP) These autonomous subsea robots may someday predict storms, detect oil leaks, locate shipwrecks, and slow down climate change. (From Popular Mechanics/ By Stav Dimitropoulos) — In 2016, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, a global competition sponsored by Royal Dutch Shell plc, announced it would dole out $7 million to the technologies that could demonstrably advance the knowledge of the Earth’s most mysterious frontier: the ocean. Out of the over 30 international teams that swiftly expressed interest, 19 made it to the semifinals in early 2017, nine to the final round in November 2017, and eventually only five fulfilled the criteria to compete in the grand final that took place at the end of 2018 in the coastal town of Kalamata, Greece. Last week, the winner was unveiled: The team that showed the best technological chops for remotely and autonomously plumbing the world’s oceans was the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO)-Nippon Foundation (NF) alumni, a diverse union of scientists made up of members from 14 different countries, all graduates from the University of New Hampshire’s postgraduate program in ocean bathymetry. Like the rest of the teams, GEBCO-NF competed in Greece with a combination of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs)—subsea swimming robots that are computer-controlled—and unmanned or autonomous surface vessels (USVs or ASVs respectively), vessels that carry, deploy, and retrieve the AUVs without the intervention of humans. Drawing on this AUV and USV marriage, the GEBCO-NF team successfully mapped a 278.9-square-kilometer area of seafloor in less than 24 hours (exceeding the 250-square-kilometer standard the judges had set for the same timeframe), produced 10 images of the seabed with a resolution of five meters or higher, and processed and transformed the data into fit-for-use imagery in just two days. “We developed a surface vessel that can get the AUV out to the mapping site and also act as… Read the full article here: https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/robots/a27891939/xprize-winner-autonomous-subsea-robots/ The post Member Highlight: Meet The Machines That Could Unlock The Ocean’s Deepest Secrets appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.