Breaking Waves: Ocean News

02/11/2019 - 17:00
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Crew and Officers of NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife held a hearing titled: “Healthy Oceans and Healthy Economies: The State of Our Oceans in the 21st Century.” Why It Matters The ocean faces a myriad of threats, including ocean acidification, pollution, harmful algal blooms, and coral reef die-offs, all of which are exacerbated by climate change. With more than 40 percent of Americans living along the coast, coastal communities are the first to experience hardships that result from a changing ocean. These environmental changes affect the stability of our coastal communities, and in turn, the economic prosperity and food security. Key Points Climate change is a global issue with local impacts. Witnesses described the direct effects climate change has on their families and communities, from sea-level rise and frequent and increasing storms to shifting fish populations. Ms. Beth Casoni (Executive Director, Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association) spoke about the warming waters in the Gulf of Maine causing lobster populations to move north and into deeper waters, making them more difficult and expensive to catch. These shifting populations endanger the stability of the commercial lobster industry and in turn, the livelihoods of thousands of lobstermen and women. Other witnesses were questioned on the economic impacts of climate change mitigation strategies and stated that mitigation efforts must balance costs and benefits. Dr. Deborah Bronk (President and CEO, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) explained the science behind climate change and the anthropogenic activities driving ocean warming and acidification. She stated that the ocean is working at capacity to absorb excess heat from fossil fuel pollution, resulting not only in melting sea ice and sea level rise but in changes in ocean chemistry through increasing the acidity of water (ocean acidification). In addition to the well-known social and scientific effects of climate change, witnesses discussed how climate change negatively impacts their culture, history, and heritage. Ms. Angela Chalk (Executive Director, Healthy Community Services) showed a picture of a submerged ancestral burial space at St. James Cemetery in Louisiana and described how it is impossible to quantify the loss of these communities’ cultural heritage and history. Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine (Chieftess and Head-of-State of the Gullah/Geechee Nation) explained the culture significance of the water and shoreline to the Gullah/Geechee nation and their traditions, from providing food to baptisms to burial grounds, and how climate change is threatening their land, water, and way of life. Despite the numerous negative impacts of climate change, there was still hope and belief among witnesses that humans will rise to the challenge of solving this global problem through ingenuity and creativity, as long as action is taken now. Queen Quet and Ms. Chalk provided examples of local efforts to mitigate land loss by recycling oyster shells to restore oyster reefs. They spoke about the importance of citizen science and educating the next generation to recognize the value of the ocean and coasts. Quotable “Ocean health is critical for people and the planet, and it’s time to prepare and adapt our coasts for the future that has already arrived.” — Chairman Jared Huffman (CA-2) “When we talk about healthy oceans and healthy economies, I wanted to make sure that you also realize that we have to talk about healthy communities. […] We’re not just talking about the fish, we’re not just talking about the shrimp, we’re talking about the cultural communities that live from these fisheries and have lived in harmony and balance with them for all these generations.” — Queen Quet Marquetta L. Goodwine (Chieftess and Head-of-State of the Gullah/Geechee Nation) “I believe that in science, there is always hope. Climate change is a problem that, ironically, science through our own success has created. I believe it is through science that we will solve it.”  — Dr. Deborah Bronk (President and CEO, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences) Find Out More Watch the full hearing Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership      Jon White – From the President’s Office: 02-04-2019 Predicting Coastal Impacts: Where The Atmosphere, Ocean, And Land Collide Preparing Coastal Communities For Change The Science Of Food Security A Less Frozen Frontier Arctic Discussion Circle Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post The State Of Our Ocean appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
02/11/2019 - 15:41
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, courtesy of University of California, Santa Cruz, US National Science Foundation, ROV Jason dive J2-711, 2013, AT26-03 cruise chief scientist Andrew Fisher) A new study has revealed how a group of deep-sea microbes provides clues to the evolution of life on Earth, according to a recent paper in The ISME Journal. Researchers used cutting-edge molecular methods to study these microbes, which thrive in the hot, oxygen-free fluids that flow through Earth’s crust. (From Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences/ By ) — Called Hydrothermarchaeota, this group of microbes lives in such an extreme environment that they have never been cultivated in a laboratory for study. A research team from Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and the Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute bypassed the problem of cultivation with genetic sequencing methods called genomics, a suite of novel techniques used to sequence large groups of genetic information. They found that Hydrothermarchaeota may obtain energy by processing carbon monoxide and sulfate, which is an overlooked metabolic strategy. The microbes use energy from this process to grow as a form of chemosynthesis. “The majority of life on Earth is microbial, and most microbes have never been cultivated,” said Beth Orcutt, a senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory and one of the study’s senior authors. “These findings emphasize why single cell genomics are such important tools for discovering how a huge proportion of life functions.” Analyzing Hydrothermarchaeota genomes revealed… Read the full article here: https://www.bigelow.org/news/articles/2019-02-07.html The post Member Highlight: Study Shows Deep Microbes Hold Clues to Early Life appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
02/11/2019 - 11:55
High hopes for Hornsea One as developer says its output could fill the gap left by nuclear An offshore windfarm on the Yorkshire coast that will dwarf the world’s largest when completed is to supply its first power to the UK electricity grid this week. The Danish developer Ørsted, which will be installing the first of 174 turbines at Hornsea One, said it was ready to step up its plans and fill the gap left by failed nuclear power schemes. Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 11:41
Body in charge of cutting aviation’s carbon footprint meets behind closed doors A UN body tasked with cutting global aircraft emissions is covertly meeting this week for discussions dominated by airline industry observers. The environment committee of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) meets on Monday in Montreal behind closed doors to discuss measures to reduce emissions from international aircraft. Domestic and international flights emitted 895m tonnes of CO2 last year – 2.4% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, according to Carbon Brief. In terms of emissions, if aviation were a country it would be the sixth largest in the world. Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 07:55
The proposal is incredibly ambitious, both on climate change and with its reimagining of society The revival of the Green New Deal framework (first developed in a report published in 2008) and popularized by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Justice Democrats in the US, is a huge advance for green campaigners and, hopefully, for our threatened species. That is because it has a single radical ask: an ecological and economic transformation of the current system to end our addiction to fossil fuels and endless consumption of the earth’s finite assets. Related: What is the Green New Deal and how would it benefit society? Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 07:43
Republicans call it a ‘social manifesto’, environmental groups hail it, and some say it doesn’t go far enough Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey, along with dozens of co-sponsors, have introduced a vision for the Green New Deal. One Republican called it a “socialist manifesto”. Many environmental advocacy groups have hailed it, but some say it doesn’t go far enough. Others warn that its broad scope and the long list of progressive social programs it endorses could hinder its climate efforts. Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 06:04
Experts deployed to remove dozens of hungry bears besieging Novaya Zemlya Analysis: what the polar bears reveal about the climate crisis Russian environmental authorities have deployed a team of specialists to a remote Arctic region to sedate and remove dozens of hungry polar bears that have besieged the people living there.The move came after officials in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago, with a population of about 3,000 people, appealed for help. “There’s never been such a mass invasion of polar bears,” said Zhigansha Musin, the head of the local administration. “They have literally been chasing people.” Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 03:09
Trial of Peter and Jane Harris, accused of illegal pumping from Barwon-Darling river, set to become a test of NSW regime A landmark trial of prominent Bourke cotton farmers accused of illegal pumping from the Barwon-Darling when the river was low is set to become a test of the robustness of New South Wales’s water laws. Michael Elliott SC foreshadowed in the NSW Land and Environment Court today that the defendants, Peter and Jane Harris, would challenge every aspect of the state’s water laws they are accused of breaching, including the accuracy of the government’s water gauges and administrative procedures followed. Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 02:20
After years of drought graziers were elated when the rain came. Now floods have created a humanitarian crisis In north-west Queensland it hadn’t rained, any decent rain, for more than five years. When the downpour finally came last week, graziers were elated. Now it’s feared up to 500,000 cattle, mostly from severely drought-stressed herds, have been killed in widespread flood waters. Continue reading...
02/11/2019 - 02:17
Bylong Valley residents hope Rocky Hill decision will sway state commission to reject proposed open-cut mine Activists and residents fighting against a proposed coalmine in central New South Wales are hoping last week’s historic judgment in the Rocky Hill case will sway the state’s Independent Planning Commission to reject the project. The NSW land and environment court ruled last week Gloucester Resources’ Rocky Hill coalmine in the state’s Hunter Valley should not go ahead, in part because of its social impact on the town of Gloucester and because a new coalmine was not compatible with Australia’s commitments under the Paris agreement. Continue reading...