Breaking Waves: Ocean News

02/25/2021 - 20:28
Traditional owners are ‘upset and frustrated’ after Fortescue Metals Group began land clearing at a significant site in the Pilbara without their involvement Pat Dodson, Yawuru man and Labor senator for Western Australia, has said it may be time to consider a royal commission into mining in the Pilbara following a series of reports of damage at Aboriginal sites, and potential breaches of agreements. Senator Dodson’s comments came as Eastern Guruma traditional owners expressed their “upset and complete frustration” at Fortescue Metals Group , which went ahead with land clearing at a site of significance to them without involving elders who wanted to be present to salvage cultural material. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 19:01
Company says sewage plan would avoid 105,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over 30 years Thousands of homes in south-west London could soon be warmed by the waste from their local sewage works as part of England’s first poo-powered district heating scheme. Thames Water hopes to harness the heat of human waste from its treatment plant in Kingston upon Thames to warm more than 2,000 new homes that form part of a regeneration plan for the borough’s Cambridge Road estate. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 19:01
Auditors say emissions down just 1% since 2011 and target of zero emissions by 2050 is a long way off Carbon emissions from passenger cars across Britain have fallen by just 1% since 2011, despite a steep rise in the sale of electric and hybrid vehicles, Whitehall’s spending watchdog has said. The National Audit Office said the popularity of sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and an increase in road traffic were among factors that have cancelled out expected reductions from low-emission car sales. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 17:09
Butterflies had bad year after four times as many trees were lost to illegal logging and extreme climate conditions The number of monarch butterflies that reached their winter resting grounds in central Mexico decreased by about 26% this year, and four times as many trees were lost to illegal logging, drought and other causes, making 2020 a bad year for the butterflies. The butterflies’ population covered only 2.1 hectares (5.2 acres) in 2020, compared to 2.8 hectares (6.9 acres) the previous year and about one-third of the 6.05 hectares (14.95 acres) detected in 2018, according to government figures. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 13:34
Self-driving vehicle can interact with traffic lights and is the first project of its kind in Europe A new driverless electric bus has begun operating in the southern Spanish city of Málaga, in the first such project in Europe. The bus, which began running on Saturday, is equipped with sensors and cameras and links Málaga’s port to the city centre on an 8km (five-mile) loop it does six times a day. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 11:30
A ‘confronting and sobering’ report details degradation of coral reefs, outback deserts, tropical savanna, Murray-Darling waterways, mangroves and forests Leading scientists working across Australia and Antarctica have described 19 ecosystems that are collapsing due to the impact of humans and warned urgent action is required to prevent their complete loss. A groundbreaking report – the result of work by 38 scientists from 29 universities and government agencies – details the degradation of coral reefs, arid outback deserts, tropical savanna, the waterways of the Murray-Darling Basin, mangroves in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and forests stretching from the rainforests of the far north to Gondwana-era conifers in Tasmania. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 11:30
Males use vocal trickery to fool females into thinking a threat is lurking, giving them time to sow their genetic seeds Male lyrebirds in the throes of sexual union will mimic the sound of a distressed mob of other birds to fool their mate and stop her from escaping, new research from Australia has found. The remarkable discovery was made after analysing audio and video of superb lyrebirds – a species known for extravagant dance routines and an ability to imitate the calls of more than 20 other species. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 11:30
Australia should prioritise large-scale renewable energy options to replace ageing thermal generators, infrastructure body says Renewable energy zones and dispatchable energy storage have been listed as “high priority initiatives” by Infrastructure Australia for the first time. The energy initiatives are among 44 new infrastructure proposals on the priority list, released on Friday, which together represent a $59bn pipeline of potential investments. Continue reading...
02/25/2021 - 11:08
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Seen from the Lighthouse – what's happening now? Fisheries subsidies: new WTO chief wants to reel in the deal Virtual, vital and free! Don't miss the World Ocean Summit Ocean Signals – short announcements Waves on the Horizon – what's coming up? Leaders Climate Summit – Biden's bolt of climate energy AntarcticaLive! Heads Up: A Virtual Kickoff Event to Protect the Southern Ocean Ocean Reflection – a look back at what's been happening Too hot, too loud, too few sharks: New Ocean data a clear impetus for action Other Key News Recent Reports   Ocean momentum is slowly building up as the second month of 2021 comes to an end, with big news at the WTO and potential breakthroughs at major Ocean and climate events on the horizon and the breakout documentary hit My Octopus Teacher being shortlisted for an Oscar. This edition of The Navigator stands out for the sheer number of new studies and announcements of Ocean initiatives it features – a sure sign of lots of activity that together will hopefully drive a sea change as 2021 marches on! -->      Seen from the Lighthouse – What's happening now? Fisheries subsidies: new WTO chief wants to reel in the deal WTO Member States made history on 15th February by selecting Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria as the organization’s first woman and first African Director-General. And The Navigator was delighted to hear the newly appointed DG list fisheries subsidies among WTO’s immediate priorities for her first 100 days (watch from 40.00). Unfortunately WTO members were unable to finish negotiations in time for the 2020 deadline. But, luckily, the fisheries subsidies talks have restarted with gusto and the Chair declared the meeting a constructive start to 2021. A second cluster of meetings was held on 15th-19th February and members will continue to meet inter-sessionally. Hopefully all possible steps are taken to secure a strong global agreement to eliminate harmful fisheries subsidies in the first quarter of 2021. As Dr Okonjo-Iweala stressed in her Statement, “A robust agreement would be a win-win for trade and sustainability. It will signal to the world that the WTO is back, that it is capable of concluding a multilateral agreement vital for current and future generations.” We couldn’t agree more. It is time to reel in the deal!   Virtual, vital and free! Don't miss the World Ocean Summit The Economist Group’s 8th Annual World Ocean Summit Virtual Week is going ahead from 1st-5th March in a fully-virtual format that is open and free for all. This year’s theme is “Accelerating a sustainable ocean economy” and the agenda is designed to look at changing the way business is done in the Ocean, shaping and accelerating how governments, businesses, and civil society work together to create a sustainable blue economy. Over 5,000 participants and 150 speakers will focus on the greatest challenges facing the seas including climate change, aquaculture, fishing, energy, plastics, shipping, and tourism. The 8th annual edition Speakers will concentrate on three cross-cutting levers of change – finance, governance and innovation – addressing the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ of a sustainable Ocean and ‘how’ to achieve it. The Summit will also be a chance to learn more about the newly-announced winners of the Ocean Changemakers Challenge. Speakers include Ocean Unite Network Member José María Figueres and Karen Sack, along with Chip Cunliffe of AXA XL and the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance. Sign up here to book your place. -->      Ocean Signals – Short announcements Join the call for 30x30! World Surf League PURE’s ‘We Are One Ocean’ movement is gathering signatures to protect 30% of our shared, global Ocean by 2030. Sign the petition here and join the discussion on #weareoneocean.   Listen to new fortnightly podcast Catch Our Drift – launched by Nekton, the OneOcean Flotilla and partners to bring you the best in Ocean science, conservation, education and Ocean stories, hosted by Oliver Steeds and Dr Helen Scales.   Tune in to UNEP FI’s webinars on ‘Insuring the climate transition’ and (on 2nd March) How to Finance a Sustainable Ocean Recovery.   Read the Ocean Unite Impact Report for 2020 – including lots to look forward to in 2021!   Catch up on The Ocean that belongs to us all online conference organized by the Lisbon Club on 22nd & 23th February, including the participation of Karen Sack on the need for protection of Antarctic marine waters and the High Seas.   Ocean Unite is thrilled to announce that we have joined the WaterBear Network, the first streaming platform dedicated to the future of our planet. Sign up for free to view the Ocean Unite WaterBear project page.   ORRAA announced the five winners of their Ocean Resilience Innovation Challenge on 25th February for their potential to boost the resilience of vulnerable coastal communities and ecosystems to Ocean and climate risk, and for their scalability and investability – from a blockchain-based framework to rebalance the seaweed production supply chain to a plastic-neutral credit platform. Learn more about the winners here and in this Virgin Unite blog.   A new Industry Coalition on IUU fishing including five of the most influential industry and multi-stakeholder platforms in the seafood sector released a joint statement on 16th February calling for a combination of private sector and government action to help enhance transparency and accountability and block landings of IUU catch.   Watch Whales in a Changing Ocean, a new short film that also offers a ray of hope by showing the recovery of the humpback whales that feed in the waters off the Antarctic Peninsula, which were almost wiped out by industrial whaling. -->        Waves on the Horizon – What's coming up?  Leaders Climate Summit – Biden's bolt of climate energy President Biden will convene a Leaders Climate Summit on Earth Day, 22nd April, to mark the US’ return to global climate talks and challenge his own climate policy team to deliver ambitious, credible commitments able to stand up to global scrutiny. The event will coincide with the 5th anniversary of the opening of the Paris Agreement on climate change for signature and is the latest sign that President Biden is putting climate at the center of his diplomacy. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry is expected to lead the Summit and it is intended to provide a much-needed boost of energy to global climate talks and kick-start 2021 momentum towards COP26 in Glasgow at the end the year. It is also an opportunity for governments to put climate action and green energy at the center of their post-pandemic recovery plans. President Biden hopes his clear signal that the US is back and ready to commit will help persuade other major emitters – notably China – to declare strong climate commitments (nationally determined contributions) and start narrowing the gap between the world's current emissions trajectory and the actions needed to limit global heating to relatively safe levels. The big questions remains – what will the US bring to the table? As the world’s biggest historic carbon emitter the US still does not have a Paris commitment, and delivering a full new NDC by April will be a huge task. However Kerry assured a recent climate conference that, "we have already launched our work to prepare a new US nationally determined contribution that meets the urgency of the challenge, and we aim to announce our NDC as soon as practicable". The US has also promised new investments in climate mitigation – including settling the outstanding US$2 billion balance pledged to the UN Green Climate Fund by the Obama administration. The Navigator hopes that John Kerry will also make sure the Ocean features heavily on the climate agenda. AntarcticaLive! Heads Up: A Virtual Kickoff Event to Protect the Southern Ocean AntarcticaLive! is an exciting virtual kick-off event being organized by the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition, the Blue Nature Alliance, The Pew Charitable Trusts, SeaLegacy’s OnlyOne campaign, Ocean Unite and Antarctica2020. It aims to encourage global activism towards ensuring world leaders take action to protect Antarctica through the creation of three large-scale Southern Ocean marine protected areas (MPAs). Streamed across the most popular social media platforms, including Twitch, YouTube and Facebook, and featuring live performances by popular artists from Russia, Europe and South America, AntarcticaLive! will reach thousands of viewers around the world. The key message is: In Antarctica, nothing is stationary. The only constant is change. And penguins need MPAs too! Stay tuned for more details about AntarcticaLive! – including the exact date. It promises to be a unique opportunity to elevate backing for Southern Ocean MPAs, attract new Antarctic activists, and accelerate interest among global leaders in 2021. -->        Ocean Reflection – A look back at what's been happening Too hot, too loud, too few sharks: New Ocean data a clear impetus for action With the world at its hottest in 12,000 years – since the dawn of human civilization – a healthy and vibrant Ocean is our greatest ally against climate devastation. But to achieve that, urgent and deep changes are needed. At the moment, our world is melting and sea levels are rising. According to a new study, the cryosphere is melting at a rate of ice loss now in line with the worst-case scenarios of the IPCC report. About half of the 28 trillion tons of ice lost between 1994 and 2017 was from land, which contributes directly to global sea level rise. Speaking of which, researchers at the University of Copenhagen are warning that sea level rise could be even worse than feared. They believe levels could rise as much as 135cm (4.4 feet) by 2100, under a worst-case warming scenario. That’s 25cm (9.8 inches) more than IPCC predictions, a discrepancy the Danish study puts down to IPCC models not being sensitive enough, based on their “reality check” test and the new concept of transient sensitivity of sea level rise.   And what about Ocean wildlife? As well as threats from rising temperatures, scientists say that the noise from shipping, construction, sonar and seismic surveys is “drowning out” the healthy Ocean soundscape. Our Ocean is getting noisier by human-generated sounds, with negative impacts on the behaviour and survival of marine life. To really open our ears to this Ocean cacophony, the science review is accompanied by a haunting, six-minute track by sound artist Jana Winderen, melding natural underwater seal calls and crackling crustaceans with the buzz of motorboats and drilling. And it is also not good news for the world’s magnificent sharks and rays with new analysis showing populations crashing by more than 70% in 50 years and cautions that time is running out as a result of half a century of global decline. It is not only sharks, rays and other wildlife in jeopardy. According to a landmark new review of the economics of biodiversity, the whole world is being put at “extreme risk” by the failure of economics to take account of the rapid depletion of the natural world. The author of the 600-page UK Treasury-commissioned review, Prof Sir Partha Dasgupta, concludes that our prosperity is coming at a “devastating cost” to the ecosystems that provide humanity with food, water and clean air. He particularly highlights the need to replace GDP with new measures of success that value nature if we are to avoid a catastrophic breakdown. Prof Dasgupta’s review is the first comprehensive economic framework of its kind for biodiversity and everyone should take heed. Sir David Attenborough has given it the thumbs up, saying the review is “immensely important” as “it shows how we can help save the natural world at what may be the last minute, and in doing so, save ourselves.” Wise words that should be accompanied by urgent, radical changes. --> Other Key News Collaborative project plans to map every coral reef on Earth – from space – by the summer of 2021   UN Secretary-General presents 10 priorities for 2021 including to “make peace with nature”   Marine Conservation Institute releases US SeaStates 2021 report   Latin America and the Caribbean region launches 10-year Action Plan to restore ecosystems   Australia and Cambodia join the Global Ocean Alliance call to protect at least 30% of the Ocean by 2030   Why the finance sector needs to catch the blue wave – head of the UNEP Finance Initiative calls for a transformational shift in private finance to regenerate Ocean health   Online story highlights voices of Pacific Islanders, Ocean conservation, and Papahānaumokuākea   Leaders from Latin American and the Caribbean sign the ‘Bridgetown Declaration’ that maps a path towards a green recovery and details an action plan to preserve biodiversity and restore ecosystems --> Recent Reports The effectiveness of national biodiversity investments to protect the wealth of nature   Global Fishing Watch’s 2020 Analysis: Detecting the Dark Fleets in North Korea and Russia   Ensuring effective implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity targets   Are litter, plastic and microplastic quantities increasing in the Ocean?   COVID-19 lockdown improved the health of coastal environment and enhanced the population of reef-fish   The Rising Tide Report: Mapping Ocean Finance for a New Decade   If the Ocean Could Talk – TEDx Oceanmar Project   Visualizing countries by share of Earth’s surface   Defining priority areas for blue whale conservation and investigating overlap with vessel traffic in Chilean Patagonia, using a fast‑fitting movement model   Surface slicks are pelagic nurseries for diverse Ocean fauna Click here for more reports --> Latest Blogs Why agreeing to 30x30 can help sharks from extinction by Richard Branson. Building ocean resilience through innovation, investment and entrepreneurship by Karen Sack and Chip Cunliffe. Click here for more blogs --> We get amazing feedback every month from avid Navigator readers. We want to make sure to always bring you high-quality content and that the global seaview continues.  Donate now to Ocean Unite to keep it coming! DONATE NOW Remember to pass on any of your Ocean news to navigator_info@oceanunite.org Help support our efforts to protect the Ocean by wearing one of Ocean Unite's cool and sustainable t-shirts or hoodies. Don’t want to keep receiving these updates? Unsubscribe here. 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02/25/2021 - 11:00
Global study shows blazes diminish forest density and tree size, making woods likely to sequester less carbon More fierce and frequent fires are reducing forest density and tree size and may damage forests’ ability to capture carbon in the future, according to a global study. Although forest fires are naturally occurring phenomena and natural forests regenerate, global heating and human activity have caused the frequency and intensity of fires to rise. Wildfires burn 5% of the planet’s surface every year, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere equivalent to a fifth of our annual fossil fuel emissions. Continue reading...