Breaking Waves: Ocean News

03/25/2015 - 12:03
Scientists have hailed the emergence of heat-tolerant beans, but there are fears corporate interests in Africa’s seed sector will wrest control from local farmers Scientists are hailing a new breed of bean seed as a breakthrough, thanks to its ability to grow amid rising temperatures and yield more nutritional value, qualities they believe can thwart the anticipated destruction of nearly half of all bean production. The new seed was launched on Wednesday by scientists from the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. As well as being more resilient to heat, the bean has a higher iron content. Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 11:31
(Click to enlarge) Prince Charles, in Washington on Wednesday, speaks at a conference on ocean trash that his office helped organize. (Credit: Andrew Harnik, AP) Britain’s Prince Charles, long a champion of rain forests and sustainable agriculture, has a new environmental cause: combating ocean trash. (From National Geographic / by Laura Parker)– “Something must urgently be done to stem the tide of plastic entering the ocean,” he said Wednesday at a conference on ocean debris, as part of a three-day tour of Washington. “Having taken a keen interest in the state of the world’s natural environment for longer than I care to remember, one thing that has always struck me as being very odd has been the comparatively low level of attention that has been devoted to the condition of the oceans,” said Charles, the Prince of Wales and heir to the British throne. “It is … utterly crucial that we do a great deal more to speed up the transition to a more ‘circular’ economy,” he said. “That is to say, one in which materials are recovered, recycled, and reused instead of created, used, and then thrown away.” Charles spoke at a conference co-sponsored by an arm of the Prince’s Charities, which he leads, and the Global Ocean Commission, a consortium that makes policy recommendations on ocean issues, such as overfishing. About 125 scientists, economists, environmental activists, and plastic manufacturers met to consider possible solutions for keeping plastics out of the ocean. Read the full article here: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150318-prince-charles-oceans-trash-plastic-britain/
03/25/2015 - 11:20
(Click to enlarge) Fish in NOAA’s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, off Texas. (Credit: NOAA/FGBNMS/G.P. Schmahl) Scientists in the Gulf of Mexico now have a better understanding of how naturally-occurring climate cycles–as well as human activities–can trigger widespread ecosystem changes that ripple through the Gulf food web and the communities dependent on it, thanks to a new study published Saturday in the journal Global Change Biology. (From ScienceDaily)– A team of NOAA scientists spent three years reviewing over 100 indicators derived from environmental, fishery, and economic data, including sea surface temperature, currents, atmospheric patterns, fishing effort, harvest, and revenues. Through extensive analysis, they found a major ecosystem reorganization that appeared to be timed with a naturally-occurring climate shift that occurred around 1995. The climate phenomenon is known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), a climate signal in the North Atlantic Ocean that switches between cool and warm phases, each lasting for 20-40 years at a time. The AMO, which was in a cool phase between 1965 until 1995 and has been in a warm phase since, influences global ocean and weather conditions in the northern hemisphere such as hurricane activity in the Atlantic ocean and the severity and frequency of droughts. However, the AMO is not as extensively studied as other climate phenomena, such as El Nino, and this study is the first to investigate what scientists hope will be many future studies examining how the AMO influences ecosystem-scale change in the Gulf. Scientists hope this work will spur interest in further studying this phenomenon and its implications for the marine environment in this region. Read the full article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150317122807.htm
03/25/2015 - 10:35
It’s been a few weeks since we launched our major climate change project. Here’s what we have learned so far This was the consensus reached by the collection of journalists that met in January to plan the project. It’s also the consensus reached by many of the world’s most prolific scientists, economists and statesmen. Keep it in the ground: Guardian climate change campaign pic.twitter.com/7rK3SuNSQp http://t.co/Cv4A9QL4ct These are leaders. These are people that others look to. So they have enormous responsibility. That’s why for me it is important that they react to this. Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 09:36
The much-quoted three numbers of climate change have raised awareness of the simple fact there’s far more fossil fuel than we can burn and the more we extract, the greater the risk of climate catastrophe – but they don’t tell us the whole story The world is gradually waking up to the true nature of the climate change conundrum, and not a moment too soon. The situation boils down to this: fossil fuel is immensely useful, valuable and politically important, yet if we want to avoid taking unacceptable risks with the planet we need to leave most of that fuel in the ground – either forever or at least until there’s an affordable and scalable way to stop the exhaust gases building up in the atmosphere. Many of us have been saying this for years (I co-wrote a book about it) but much of the credit for the increased awareness of the need to ‘leave the fuel in the ground’ goes to Bill McKibben, whose brilliant and much-read article in Rolling Stone clarified for many readers the simple and crucial fact that there is far more carbon in existing fossil fuel reserves than we can safely burn. Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 08:31
Court to decide whether cost is initial factor in regulating output of mercury and other hazardous pollutants or whether health risks are only consideration Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 08:24
BP has withdrawn support to Alec, a group known for misrepresenting climate science, but appearances can be deceptive. Oil, gas and coal companies remain firmly behind climate disinformation campaigns Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 08:05
Current levels of flood protection for five million properties face ‘major risks’ due to lack of long-term defence maintenance budgets, MPs have warned England’s ability to sustain current levels of flood protection for homes and businesses faces “major risks”, MPs have warned. Some five million properties across the country, or around one in six, are at risk of flooding from coastal, river and surface water, and climate change is increasing the risks of extreme weather and floods, a report by the public accounts committee said. Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 08:00
A new study suggests that the University of Alabama at Huntsville is lowballing the warming of the atmosphere Continue reading...
03/25/2015 - 06:34
Director of the charitable trust, Jeremy Farrar, says retaining fossil fuel shares gives more influence over such companies – but they would not rule out divesting in the future, should engagement prove ineffective The director of the Wellcome Trust has rejected calls from a Guardian campaign to shift the charitable foundation’s investments out of the fossil fuel industry, warning that such a move would mean less pressure on those companies to be green. Related: Fossil-fuel divestment is not the way to reduce carbon emissions | Jeremy Farrar Continue reading...