Breaking Waves: Ocean News

02/08/2023 - 14:00
Astrophysicists propose geoengineering solution to climate warming, although skeptics still urge ‘massive’ fossil fuel cutbacks Proponents of a “moonshot” idea to deal with global heating have been handed a new, very literal, interpretation by researchers who have proposed firing plumes of moon dust from a gun into space in order to deflect the sun’s rays away from Earth. The seemingly outlandish concept, outlined in a new research paper, would involve creating a “solar shield” in space by mining the moon of millions of tons of its dust and then “ballistically eject[ing]” it to a point in space about 1m miles from Earth, where the floating grains would partially block incoming sunlight. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 12:09
Special forces destroy aircraft and seize weapons in effort to protect largest Indigenous reserve from mining mafias The Brazilian government has launched its campaign to drive tens of thousands of illegal miners from the country’s largest Indigenous reserve, with special-forces environmental operatives destroying aircraft and seizing weapons and boats during an operation deep in the Amazon’s Yanomami territory. Members of Brazil’s environmental protection agency Ibama – with support from the Indigenous agency Funai and the newly created ministry for Indigenous peoples – launched the long-awaited operation on Monday, with troops establishing a base along the Uraricoera river. Wildcat tin ore and gold miners use the waterway – as well as dozens of illegal airstrips – to reach and supply their illegal outposts in Yanomami lands. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 11:00
England’s chief medical officer and colleagues call for push to understand health impacts of indoor pollutants Offices, schools, supermarkets and hospitals should be monitored for indoor air pollutants, according to England’s chief medical officer, amid concerns that dirty air in buildings may contribute to nearly as many deaths as outdoor air pollution. Prof Chris Whitty said monitoring indoor air quality should become standard practice in public spaces and called for urgent investment to help establish records of pollutants that accumulate in homes, offices and public buildings. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 11:00
Assessment shows 20% global loss since 1700 – far less than thought – but Europe, US and China bear the brunt Half the wetlands in Europe, continental US and China have been destroyed in the past 300 years, with some areas – including the UK, Ireland and Germany – losing more than 75%, new research shows. Globally, an area the size of India has disappeared. Until now, it wasn’t known how many wetlands were left – previous estimates suggested between 28% and 87% had been destroyed since 1700. For the first time, researchers combined global historical records with maps of today’s wetlands to create a more accurate global picture, and found an estimated 20% of all wetlands destroyed. Europe, however, was the worst affected area, with Ireland losing more than 90% of its wetlands, Germany, Lithuania and Hungary more than 80% and the UK, the Netherlands and Italy more than 75%. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 08:04
Workers at Environment Agency who monitor warning systems among those striking for second time in month England’s flood warning systems have been placed on autopilot for the second time in a month as staff at the Environment Agency stage their latest strike over pay and conditions. Thousands of workers at the government agency, who have key roles in controlling pollution and protecting communities from weather disasters, began striking at 7am on Wednesday. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 08:02
Planning guidance from mayor sets air pollution limits that would not be met with solid fuel burners installed Wood burners have been in effect banned in new and refurbished buildings in London. New planning guidance announced by the mayor sets air pollution limits for home and office developments that would not be met if burners for wood or other solid fuels were installed. Wood burning in towns and cities is a major contributor of toxic air pollution particles, which have been linked to a wide range of health problems, including heart and lung disease, dementia and mental illness in children. Dirty air causes thousands of early deaths a year in London alone, and 26,000 to 38,000 in England. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 06:33
Agreement to restrict use of aggregating apparatus in the Indian Ocean is hailed as a ‘giant step forward’ for species conservation Coastal nations and conservation groups have described an agreement to restrict fishing vessels from using devices that contribute to overfishing as a “huge win” for tuna populations and marine life. The adoption by fishing nations of tough proposals to restrict “fish aggregating devices” (FADs) in the Indian Ocean, follows warnings to EU officials from retailers, including Marks & Spencer, environmentalists and coastal nations that the tools are one of the main contributors to overfishing of Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna, because they catch high numbers of juveniles. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 06:08
Climate campaigners hit out at Norwegian state-owned Equinor’s record £62bn profits as household bills rise Britain’s biggest gas supplier, the Norwegian state-owned oil company Equinor, has been accused of “profiteering” from the energy crisis and higher household bills after posting record annual earnings of £62bn. The oil and gas producer said on Wednesday that adjusted profits hit $15.1bn (£12.5bn) in the final three months of last year, bringing total annual profits to $74.9bn, the highest in its 51-year history. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 06:00
The Inflation Reduction Act was hailed for its climate funding – but some are concerned several provisions will worsen a growing environmental disaster The $369bn Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was applauded by a chorus of US organizations and activists enthusiastic about the generous funding earmarked for projects designed to mitigate climate change and improve environmental health. But some researchers and activists are raising concerns that several provisions of the new law will actually worsen a growing environmental disaster in the nation’s heartland by increasing the tide of farm-related pollution washing into waterways and groundwater. Continue reading...
02/08/2023 - 03:01
Storm King, the celebrated outdoor sculpture collection in upstate New York, is overhauling itself in a bid to improve accessibility and landscape protection Founded in 1960, Storm King’s contemporary sculpture collection graces 500 acres of rolling meadows and forestland in New York’s Hudson Valley Where else can you witness a multi-ton modernist masterpiece like Alexander Liberman’s Olympic Iliad – 41 cherry red tubes stacked on to one another, 45ft high and 60ft long – against green meadows and forests? The museum’s visitation increased sharply during the height of the pandemic, as exploring outdoor art offered a welcome break from fraught indoor contact. But can a museum accommodate increased traffic while also ensuring accessibility – and protection of its prized landscape? Continue reading...