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Floating offshore wind turbine Photo: Greentech Media
Yesterday at the Our Ocean Conference in Norway, the U.S. government announced a series of 23 actions it will undertake to promote sustainable fisheries, combat marine debris, and support marine science, observation, and exploration — together they are valued at $1.21 billion dollars. The Prime Minister of Norway came to the conference and announced that her government will give $253 million to the state energy company Equinor to develop the largest floating offshore wind farm in the world to date.
Why This Matters: The U.S. announcement certainly is big — but the projects were not clearly spelled out in the government’s press release — and the devil could be in the details since they were couched as enhancing the “blue economy.” We hope that when more details are available, these projects will put as much emphasis on sustainability as on development. And because accountability is a major component of the Our Ocean conference, the U.S. will have a hard time backing away from spending the dollars committed. Norway’s floating wind power project will make a substantial contribution to offshore wind development everywhere — and the government’s grant to Equinor will ensure that the power produced is affordable.
Commitments and Accountability
According to the State Department, cumulatively, from 2014 to present, the United States has made 113 commitments valued at over 4.3 billion dollars.
Notably, the U.S. did not announce any new areas of marine protection — which is not surprising given the Trump administration’s desire to drill for oil and gas off the coast of Alaska and even off the coast in the lower 48. Marine Protected Area (MPA) commitments, however, continue to be a big focus of commitments by many other nations. And an analysis by Dr. Jane Lubchenco and researchers at Oregon State University shows that these MPA commitments have largely been kept. Dr. Lubchenco said she was “blown away” by their findings — that of the 288 MPA creations or expansions announced in the first five conferences, 57% have already been completed and are now protected by the laws of the nation in which they are located.
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer Last summer, Florida created its first aquatic preserve in over 30 years. The Nature Coast Aquatic Preserve protects about 400,000 acres of seagrass just north of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf coast. These are part of the Gulf of Mexico’s largest seagrass bed and borders other existing preserves, creating a […]
A new study has found that whale songs can be a powerful tool for mapping the ocean floor. Seismic testing done by humans can harm whales and other marine life, but by using whale songs instead, scientists believe the practice can be adapted to be much less harmful to marine populations.
Why This Matters: For years, the fossil fuel industry has hauled “seismic guns” behind large boats, blasting loud, harmful bursts of sound that disturb sea life and impair the sonar of animals like whales and dolphins.
Much as our national parks on land are some of our greatest natural treasures, marine national monuments safeguard precious ecosystems and protect them now and for future generations. The National Marine Sanctuary System encompasses more than 600,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters, and contains amazing cultural and historical resources, as well as […]
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