Breaking Waves: Ocean News

08/13/2019 - 00:00
The 14,000m² farm is set to open in the south-west of Paris early next year It’s a warm afternoon in late spring and before us rows of strawberry plants rustle in the breeze as the scent of fragrant herbs wafts across the air. Nearby, a bee buzzes lazily past. Contrary to appearances, however, we are not in an idyllic corner of the countryside but standing on the top of a six-storey building in the heart of the French capital. Welcome to the future of farming in Paris – where a whole host of rooftop plantations, such as this one on the edge of the Marais, have been springing up of late. Yet this thriving operation is just a drop in the ocean compared to its new sister site. When that one opens, in the spring of 2020, it will be the largest rooftop farm in the world. Continue reading...
08/12/2019 - 15:05
Ocean Leadership ~ Photo, top: The Albany High School team visits MBARI (Photo credit: Melissa Brodeur) Photo, bottom: The Ladue Horton Watkins team goes out on hydrographic survey boats with NOAA MOC-A (Photo credit: Amanda Holloway) Searching for a Little Brightness? Look Toward the Ocean. Last week was a very difficult and sad period; one of the darkest I can remember in the United States since September 11, 2001. With all the bad news that encroaches on our consciousness every day, it’s often hard to find things to feel optimistic about. However, one bright spot that occurred last week was the second award trip from the 2019 National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB) Finals competition, which took the third-place team to southern Virginia. Any time we get to celebrate our future ocean leaders is a very good day indeed, and hearing about how the Ladue Horton Watkins High School team from St. Louis, Missouri, got to explore and experience the nation’s largest estuary (Chesapeake Bay) and surrounding area with several ocean science and research facilities certainly injected a bit of optimism and enthusiasm into my outlook and attitude. The team started their trip at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, where they got a behind-the-scenes tour and observed many bottlenose dolphins aboard the Atlantic Explorer. The team then got a hands-on lesson in ocean mapping tools and research with the NOAA Marine Operations Center-Atlantic (MOC-A) before heading up to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Eastern Shore Laboratory to explore barrier island ecosystems and learn about island migration. The Ladue Horton Watkins team also went to VIMS’s Gloucester Point campus, where they saw one of the largest collections of freshwater, Chesapeake Bay, and coastal fishes in Virginia and took part in recreational fish tagging. They visited the Navy’s Fleet Weather Center at the world’s largest Navy base in Norfolk, where they also toured the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69) and met Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 124 (VAW-124), the “Bear Aces.” Just a few weeks ago, the first-place team from the 2019 Finals, Albany High School from Albany, California stayed on the west coast and travelled around the greater Monterey Bay area, going behind-the-scenes at some of northern California’s top-notch ocean science and technology organizations. At the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), the team got to see cutting edge ocean technologies and learn how the MBARI team is innovating the way gliders, buoys, and other autonomous systems observe critical ocean conditions. Later, at the California State University Maritime Academy, they put their teamwork to the test in Cal Maritime’s Simulation Training Facility. They worked together to help their “ship” weather a virtual storm, employing communication and critical thinking skills no doubt honed through their NOSB participation to pull through the simulation. Every year, I’m so impressed by and proud of what our NOSB students accomplish, and these teams are a shining example of that. The way they cooperate, communicate, and get excited to learn about ocean science reassures me that in hard times, like a ship in a storm, the ocean will have a steady and knowledgeable hand at the helm steering it toward a brighter future. Many thanks again to all of the institutions who hosted our NOSB students, and the countless volunteers who make these trips and the competitions possible. You certainly made my days a little brighter last week, just like you do for so many of our students each year. Stanford Researchers Develop Technology To Harness Energy From Mixing Of Freshwater And Seawater A new battery made from affordable and durable materials generates energy from places where salt and fresh waters mingle. The technology could make coastal wastewater treatment plants energy-independent and carbon neutral. Stanford researchers have developed an affordable, durable technology that could harness this so-called blue energy. Read our most recent and past newsletters here: http://oceanleadership.org/newsletter-archive/ The post Jon White – From the President’s Office: 08-12-2019 appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
08/12/2019 - 14:09
Ocean Leadership ~ DoD photo by Master Sgt. Ken Hammond, U.S. Air Force. (Public Domain) (By Philip Athey / From E&E News)  The Navy has quietly stood down its Task Force Climate Change, created in 2009 to plan and develop “future public, strategic, and policy discussions” on the issue. The task force ended in March, a spokesperson said, and the group’s tab on the Navy’s energy, environment and climate change website was removed sometime between March and July, according to public archives. (…) ‘Suspicious’ Retired Navy Rear Adm. Jon White, who ran TFCC from 2012 to 2015, said its goal was “never meant to be a never-ending thing,” but to “get things down” and have climate change considerations incorporated into the Navy’s planning. But he said he sees “little evidence” that the task force’s work has been fully incorporated into the Navy’s decision-making process. “Across all of [the Department of Defense], it is hard for me to see that climate change is taken as seriously at it should be,” said White, who is currently president of the Consortium for Ocean Leadership. “The task force ended, in my opinion, without full incorporation of climate change considerations.” Normally, Hill said, when a task force ends, “there will be a culminating report that says now all of the activities the task force has either have been completed or taken to other areas.” White said he is “suspicious” of how quietly the TFCC shut down, something that even he, as a former director, only heard about “third and fourth hand” as more of a rumor than actual fact. “It was a very quiet canceling of the task force. I didn’t know about it; no one told me,” he said. “Usually, when you stand down a task force, you want to be able to go in there and declare victory.” Read the full article here: https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060877355 The post Navy Quietly Shut Down Climate Change Task Force appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
08/12/2019 - 14:00
About 450 overseas pests have been introduced to US forests, a climate crisis resource, due to international trade and travel About 40% of all forests across the US are at risk of being ravaged by an army of harmful pests, undermining a crucial resource in addressing the climate crisis, new research has found. Tree-damaging pests have already destroyed swathes of US woodland, with the American chestnut virtually wiped out by a fungal disease and elms blighted by Dutch elm disease. About 450 overseas pests that damage or feed on trees have been introduced to US forests due to the growth in international trade and travel. Continue reading...
08/12/2019 - 13:46
Ocean Leadership ~ (Credit: (Architect of the Capitol) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What Passed The House and Senate passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 (H.R. 3877; P.L. 116-37), a two-year budget deal that raises budget caps imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-25) until the end of fiscal year (FY) 2021, which was then signed into law by the president. The Act will avoid a $125 billion decrease in discretionary funding available for FY 2020 appropriations compared to FY 2019. Nondefense spending, which includes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Science Foundation, and several other science agencies, will receive a $27 billion increase in FY 2020 compared to FY 2019 current levels. The Combating Sexual Harassment in Science Act of 2019 (H.R. 36) passed the House floor by voice vote. This bill would establish a research program to better understand the causes and consequences of sexual harassment in scientific fields, examine policies to reduce harassment, and create an interagency working group to improve communication and coordination among federal agencies in addressing sexual harassment. The legislation has been introduced in the Senate and awaits further action. Legislation addressing harmful algal blooms (HABs) passed out of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. The South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2019 (H.R. 335) would amend existing federal law aimed at combating HABs and develop a plan to reduce the frequency of these events in South Florida. What’s New Two new bills would address the issue of marine debris. In the Senate, the Save Our Seas 2.0: Improving Domestic Infrastructure to Prevent Marine Debris Act (S. 2260) would call for the development of a strategy to improve domestic infrastructure preventing marine debris. The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act (H.R. 3969), a companion to the Senate version (S. 1982), was introduced in the House. The Save Our Seas 2.0 Act would build on the successes of the Save Our Seas (SOS) Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-265) by reducing marine debris through increasing investments in domestic waste infrastructure, providing additional support for domestic debris response programs, and enhancing international collaboration to address the issue at a global level. Legislation to create a disaster assistance program for commercial fishing and aquaculture operations was introduced in the Senate following a disastrous shrimp and oyster season in the Gulf of Mexico. The Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Protection Act of 2019 (S. 2209) would establish a permanent revenue-based disaster program to help commercial fisheries, aquaculture operations, and other U.S. seafood producers mitigate losses following severe ecosystem disruption, adverse weather, and other natural disaster conditions. What’s Next The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (H.R. 2500) passed the House floor by a recorded vote of 220-197. Passed each fiscal year, the measure authorizes activities of the Department of Defense and the national security activities of the Department of Energy. The Senate passed their version of the bill in June, so both chambers must now meet in conference to resolve any differences before sending the final bill to the president. The Senate has not yet released any funding bills nor held markups and will begin the process of marking up FY 2020 appropriations bills when they return from recess. The House has passed nine of their 12 spending bills, including a “minibus” (H.R. 3055) that contains Commerce-Justice-Science and Interior-Environment FY 2020 appropriations bills. Both chambers have departed for their annual August recess, leaving only 13 joint working days to meet the September 30 deadline on FY 2020 appropriations. Congress must pass identical versions of 12 appropriations bills that are then signed by the president or pass a continuing resolution maintaining FY 2019 funding levels into FY 2020 to avoid a government shutdown. Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership May And June’s Congressional Wrap Up March and April’s Congressional Wrap Up February’s Congressional Wrap Up January’s Congressional Wrap Up December’s Congressional Wrap Up CJS Appropriations Bill Supports Broad Increases to Science Funding Commerce-Justice-Science And Interior-Environment Appropriations Bills Head To House Floor Algal Blooms Harmful To Health, Economy, And Summer Fun Our Plastic Ocean October And November’s Congressional Wrap Up Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter! The post July’s Congressional Wrap Up appeared on Consortium for Ocean Leadership.
08/12/2019 - 13:00
Australian Council of Recycling warns 4.5m tonnes of waste could end up in domestic landfill without investment Australia’s recycling industry has said the “nice words” of a government agreement on recycling must be backed up with funding and action to be “transformative” to the sector. The Australian Council of Recycling welcomed a Council of Australian Governments deal to end recycling exports, but warned the 4.5m tonnes of waste could instead end up in domestic landfill without major public investment in the recyclables industry. Continue reading...
08/12/2019 - 13:00
Under a policy that promised to put a limit on industrial pollution, Anglo American was given the green light to increase annual emissions An Australian coalmine has nearly doubled its greenhouse gas emissions in two years without penalty under a Coalition climate policy that promised to put a limit on industrial pollution. Mining company Anglo American was given the green light to increase emissions at its Moranbah North mine, in central Queensland, twice since 2016, according to documents released under freedom of information laws. Continue reading...
08/12/2019 - 12:56
Wholesale prices rise by 400% as restaurants advised to take cauliflower-related meals off menus Britain is in the grip of a cauliflower crisis, with supermarket shelves emptying after heavy rain destroyed this year’s crop in Lincolnshire, while alternative European supplies are drying up after the continental heatwave. Tesco only has organic cauliflowers left for sale on its online site, telling buyers that standard single cauliflowers and large cauliflowers are not available. Continue reading...
08/12/2019 - 12:36
Anyone looking around for bad economic news in this ‘silly season’ is spoilt for choice Every now and then, August belies its reputation as a sleepy month when nothing happens and throws up an event that shakes financial markets. The Latin American debt crisis began in August 1982; oil prices soared after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990; the Asian debt crisis had its genesis in the same month in Thailand seven years later. Then there are the crises that simmer away in August and finally come to the boil in September: the buildup to Black Wednesday in 1990; the weeks leading up to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Continue reading...
08/12/2019 - 11:56
Ash Dykes, 28, had to overcome a landslide, blizzards and being followed by a pack of wolves A 28-year-old British explorer has become the first person to complete a 4,000-mile (6,437km) trek along the Yangtze River in China. Ash Dykes, from Old Colwyn in north Wales, finished the year-long expedition on Monday, overcoming blizzards, a landslide and temperatures as low as -20C (-4F). Continue reading...