Breaking Waves: Ocean News

09/22/2021 - 00:00
England is one of the last strongholds of this beautiful insect but it is at risk due to excessive pesticide use Organic farming is probably the best hope for the survival of one of Britain’s least known but valuable wild creatures, the necklace ground beetle, Carabus monilis. Once widespread but now on the red list as endangered because of excessive pesticide use and changing farming practices, it needs help to survive. Since it eats many insects that feed on farm crops and the seeds of weeds that farmers want to control any help it gets to thrive will be richly rewarded. Continue reading...
09/22/2021 - 00:00
Rest of G20 should follow Joe Biden’s lead on funding commitments, says climate envoy Developing countries and campaigners welcomed the offer of increased climate finance from the US president, Joe Biden, at the UN on Tuesday, but warned that rich countries needed to do more to ensure the poorest received the assistance they need. Biden, speaking to the UN general assembly in New York, said he would ask the US Congress to double to $11bn (£8m) a year by 2024 the financial assistance the US offers to developing countries to help them cut greenhouse gas emissions and cope with the impacts of extreme weather. Continue reading...
09/21/2021 - 20:33
The Australian prime minister and US president also discussed repairing ties with Europe in their first one-on-one meeting Scott Morrison insists Australia and the US are on the same page on climate policy after his first one-on-one meeting with Joe Biden, as the US president presses “every nation” to cut emissions faster. The Australian prime minister and Biden also spoke about repairing ties with Europe, after their new submarine deal – also involving the UK – infuriated France and put a cloud over EU free trade agreement negotiations. Continue reading...
09/21/2021 - 16:41
Priti Patel and Grant Shapps want injunction this week, which could lead to protesters being jailed Priti Patel and Grant Shapps are seeking a court injunction to stop environmental protesters from targeting major motorways after five days of tailbacks and damaging headlines for the government. The home secretary and the transport secretary have asked National Highways and the Government Legal Service to submit an application later this week. Continue reading...
09/21/2021 - 16:27
Plastic pollution clogs river systems for considerably longer than previously thought, new research shows.
09/21/2021 - 15:12
(Credit: Pete Souza/White House) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Cassandra Wilson, Ocean Leadership Staff  What It Was The House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology each held markups to consider the budget reconciliation directive included in section 2002 of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (S. Con. Res.14). Why It Matters Investments in ocean infrastructure are critical to sustainably managing our fisheries and marine resources, identifying areas in need of protection, ensuring coastal resilience, growing our understanding of and equitably mitigating and adapting to the changing climate, and much more. Amidst an ongoing pandemic, increased investments in the blue economy and the ocean science and technology enterprise can additionally provide jobs and support economic recovery. Congress is now considering a partisan $3.5 trillion infrastructure package using budget reconciliation measures that would allow for passage with a simple majority vote. This is an opportunity for Congress to strengthen ocean infrastructure to support the science and technology enterprise, protect coastal and inland communities from climate and weather threats, promote science-based decision making, and address inequities exacerbated by the climate. Key Points On August 24, the House passed the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (S. Con. Res. 14), which included budget reconciliation instructions for 11 Senate and 13 House authorizing committees to allocate $3.5 trillion in new spending over the next decade. In advance of their September 15 deadline, House committees held markups for their committee prints, which  detailed where they would direct the reconciliation funds allocated to their committees. The House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology each held a markup of their committee prints at the beginning of September. In their committee print, the Committee on Natural Resources – allocated $25.6 billion in reconciliation funding – included investments in ocean-related infrastructure, such as offshore wind development, Great Lakes and coastal resilience, and climate adaptation and mitigation. The committee considered 42 amendments, 18 of which did not pass but had to do with offshore oil and gas production, climate change, offshore wind, and marine conservation. Republicans were opposed to the committee print’s plan to increase royalties for fossil fuel companies conducting offshore oil and gas drilling and investments in a Civilian Climate Corps and marine conservation efforts. The committee advanced its amended reconciliation print on a party-line vote of 23-14. The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology – allocated $45.5 billion in reconciliation funding – similarly considered 35 amendments to its committee print, which includes investments in national lab infrastructure, climate modeling research, energy innovation, technology competitiveness, and climate change research and development. Of the 35 amendments, 11 related to COVID-19 relief for the National Science Foundation (NSF), renewable energy development, climate research and development funding, commercial data purchasing, and NSF’s new technology directorate funding, among other topics. Three of the 11 amendments passed that would establish minimum funding levels for the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and set aside funding for NSF’s Office of Research Security Strategy and Policy. The committee advanced its amended reconciliation print on a party-line vote of 21-17. What’s Next All House committees have passed their committee prints. The House Committee on the Budget will combine the prints into an omnibus reconciliation package, which will then be sent to the Rules Committee and then the House floor. The Senate has been holding caucus-wide discussions on the proposals from the committees given reconciliation instructions, and the two chambers are expected to try to resolve major differences before the House vote. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) stated the Democratic party is aiming to reach consensus on key reconciliation measures by September 27 to finalize and pass the bill in both chambers. Quotable “Throughout the country, coastal and Great Lakes communities will receive the funding they need to become more resilient as they faced increased risk of storms, sea level rise, and erosion, and we will direct $3.5 billion to the land management agencies to support a Civilian Climate Corp.” – House Committee on Natural Resources Chair Raúl M. Grijalva (AZ-3) “If you serve on this Committee, then you know about the tremendous threats posed by climate change, and the vital need for investments in climate change research and mitigation. We meet that challenge with billions of dollars of new investments in climate and weather research and mitigation activities.” – House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30) “Why…does this bill ignore research into affordable, clean, and reliable fuel sources like natural gas and nuclear energy? We will not be able to address climate change unless we take a comprehensive approach to developing new energy technologies.” – House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-3) Related Resources From The Consortium For Ocean Leadership COL Infrastructure Letter To Congress President’s Corner: Building Infrastructure Fit For The Future July And August’s Congressional Wrap Up Weathering The Appropriations Season Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter!
09/21/2021 - 15:04
(Caption: NOAA Flickr) In 2019, a hydrology professor at The University of Texas at Austin set out on a research project to see if he could identify harmful nutrients flowing through groundwater into a delicate coral reef sanctuary in the Philippines.  (From University of Texas at Austin) — He achieved this goal, but following the long history of accidental scientific discoveries, he instead stumbled upon something completely unexpected: a region of possible “super corals” that are thriving despite high levels of carbon dioxide. The findings based on the 2019 field work were published in August in the journal ACS ES&T Water. For the first time, the UT Austin professor, Bayani Cardenas, and a team of international researchers were able to attribute the source of CO2 and other gases and nutrients in seawater at this location to groundwater, a finding that the researchers believe shows how the undersea reef environment can be vulnerable to the way communities discharge wastewater, agricultural runoff and other byproducts into the sea. “This is an unseen vulnerability,” said Cardenas, a professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the UT Jackson School of Geosciences. “We’ve been able to show with this site that groundwater is part of these delicate coral reef environments. There is a connection, and that’s still not as accepted in science and in many parts of the world.” More than that, Cardenas said the research has led to new questions — and new research proposals — about the super corals they found that could be replicated elsewhere in the coming years as global CO2 levels are expected to rise. Coral reefs have long been suffering due to climate change, most notably during a global coral bleaching event from 2014 to 2017 that caused heat stress to 75% of the world’s reefs, according to the American Meteorological Society. Yet the coral-filled area Cardenas studied in the Verde Island Passage in the Philippines, a region so vibrant and diverse that he refers to it as the “Amazon of the ocean,” is thriving despite the vast amounts of CO2 being pumped in from groundwater. Lead author Rogger E. Correa, a researcher at Southern Cross University in Australia, estimated that… Read the full article here: https://news.utexas.edu/2021/09/15/region-of-super-corals-discovered/
09/21/2021 - 13:37
(Credit: Jason Mallett, Ocean Leadership Staff) From: Ocean News Weekly/ By: Ocean Leadership Staff  What’s Passed The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act of 2021 (H.R. 3764) — which would reduce climate impacts on marine habitats, promote the designation and protection of blue carbon ecosystems, advance efforts to protect the Arctic, and modernize fishing regulations, among other actions — passed out of the House Committee on Natural Resources on a party-line vote of 23 to 19. The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote. What’s New Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-4) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (LA-1) introduced the American Energy First Act (H.R. 4334) to advance onshore and offshore energy development — both conventional and renewable. If enacted, the bill would open more areas to oil and gas exploration; promote renewable energy development, such as offshore wind; establish a new revenue sharing program for offshore wind development; and prohibit future executive actions imposing moratoriums on offshore oil and gas leasing or broader energy development efforts. In contrast, lawmakers in both chambers introduced the American Shores Protection Act (S. 2468/H.R. 4696), which would amend the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-432) to extend the moratorium on drilling off the coasts of the States of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, codifying the Trump Administration’s Memorandum on the Withdrawal of Certain Areas of the United States Outer Continental Shelf from Leasing Disposition. In the House, several bills were introduced to support the restoration and conservation of marine life and ecosystems: the Defend the Great Lakes Act (H.R. 4768) would amend the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program to require the Secretary of the Army to conduct at least five projects to protect the Great Lakes coastal wetlands; the Keeping Ecosystems Living and Productive (KELP) Act (H.R. 4458) would authorize funding to establish a new grant program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration supporting projects focused on conserving, restoring, and managing kelp ecosystems; and the Sustaining America’s Fisheries for the Future Act of 2021 (H.R. 4690) would update and reauthorize the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (P.L. 94-265) by increasing support for fishing communities, strengthening stakeholder and Tribal inclusion, increasing management transparency, modernizing fisheries science and data, and requiring managers to incorporate climate change impacts into decision-making processes. Two bills were also introduced in the House aimed at protecting marine mammals: the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) North Atlantic Right Whales Act of 2021 (H.R. 4487) would authorize $5 million in annual investments to support state, nonprofit, and industry efforts to research and restore the North Atlantic right whale population and the Manatee Protection Act of 2021 (H.R. 4946) would officially change the West Indian manatee from “threatened” to “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-205), requiring the Florida Fish and Wildlife Service to rehabilitate manatee populations and allowing for increased federal resources to be directed towards manatee protection. In the Senate, the Living Shoreline Act of 2021 (S. 2633) was introduced to help protect coastal communities from sea level rise and climate-related extreme weather events. If enacted, the bill would create two federal grant programs at NOAA to promote living shoreline research and assist states and local communities with constructing living shorelines. Both chambers additionally introduced legislation to advance STEM education and workforce development. In the Senate, the Offshore Wind Jobs and Opportunity Act (S. 2501) would require the Secretary of Energy to establish an offshore wind career training grant program. In the House, the 21st Century Jobs Act (H.R. 4461) would authorize targeted funding for STEM teacher training and establish scholarships for traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM, among other provisions. What’s Next Both chambers have returned from August recess. In July, the Senate Committee on Appropriations began marking up their annual spending bills while the House Committee on Appropriations finished marking up their annual spending bills. The House passed nine of the bills on the floor after combining seven of those into a single spending package: the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Agriculture, Rural Development, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R. 4502). A summary of the individual bills is available here. The House plans to vote this week on a stop gap funding measure to continue government funding beyond September 30, the end of fiscal year 2021. Related Resources From The Consortium For Ocean Leadership COL Infrastructure Letter To Congress June’s Congressional Wrap Up An Ocean Omnibus Fishing For Enforcement Want to receive articles like this straight to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter!
09/21/2021 - 12:30
The ex-deputy PM tells Guardian Australia the next phase of climate policy must not ‘smash our regional economies’ Get our free news app; get our morning email briefing The former federal Nationals leader Michael McCormack says his party has to consider signing up to a commitment to net zero emissions because a flat “no” could threaten Australia’s trade relationships and export income. McCormack’s public overture ahead of Cop26 in Glasgow comes as the New South Wales minister for energy and the environment, Matt Kean, will also tell an event organised by the British high commission on Wednesday that Scott Morrison has pulled off a “stunning coup” in negotiating a nuclear submarine deal with the US and the UK, but now needs to take the next step. Continue reading...
09/21/2021 - 12:30
‘Avoided deforestation’ projects do not represent genuine abatement, say researchers who liken the Coalition policy to ‘cheap tricks and hot air’ Get our free news app; get our morning email briefing About 20% of carbon credits created under the federal Coalition’s main climate change policy do not represent real cuts in carbon dioxide and are essentially “junk”, new research suggests. The report by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) and the Australia Institute found “avoided deforestation” projects do not represent genuine abatement as in most cases the areas were never going to be cleared. Continue reading...