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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.
Tatiana Schlossberg reports for The Washington Post about the potential of seaweed to dramatically reduce methane emissions from cows. It turns out that Asparagopsis taxiformis and Asparagopsis armata — two species of crimson submarine grass — can reduce those emissions by 98% when just a small amount is added to their food. Now several companies are working […]
ABC News reports that there is a creeping underground invasion of our coasts, and it is moving inland much faster than had been previously thought, according to new research funded by the National Science Foundation. The stealth invader? Saltwater, which is infiltrating our coastal communities and creating unseen risks well in advance of the surface floods that drown our homes and businesses.
Why this Matters: This problem will become more and more common as climate change continues, causing widespread displacement across the world.
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer According to a 2020 U.N. environmental report, seagrass “prairies” play a massive role in the health of the world’s oceans and if nothing is done to stop their decline, the world will face serious consequences. Seagrasses support rich biodiversity that sustains a whopping 20% of the world’s fisheries, and […]
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