Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
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.
Why This Matters: This may ultimately about all that oil and gas, but the conflict today is overfishing. China continues to use its military to prevent Vietnamese fishing boats from harvesting in the disputed areas.
We know that rising ocean temperatures are causing fish stocks to migrate to cooler waters, and now we have new evidence as to why. A study by German scientists found that juvenile fish and fish that are ready to mate are especially sensitive to changes in water temperature, and as a result, up to 60 percent of all species may be forced to leave their traditional spawning areas as waters warm.
Why This Matters: Fish populations need functional habitat to survive and procreate.
By Jean Flemma and Miriam Goldstein Historically, the ocean has been overlooked in the climate debate. That makes no sense. Ignoring the 71 percent of the planet that creates more than half the oxygen we breathe and has absorbed 90 percent of the excess heat created by climate change can hardly lead to a complete […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.