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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.
UNESCO has launched a new program to collect, analyze, and monitor environmental DNA (AKA eDNA) to better understand biodiversity at its marine World Heritage sites. Scientists will collect genetic material from fish cells, mucus, and waste across multiple locations along with eDNA from soil, water, and air. The two-year project will help experts assess […]
It’s about time we had a conversation about the birds and the bees…or in this case, the otters and the seagrass. A new study found that the ecological relationship between sea otters and the seagrass fields where they make their home is spurring the rapid reproduction of the plants. Otters dig up about 5% of […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor An abandoned oil tanker off the coast of Yemen is deteriorating rapidly, and experts say that a hull breach could have far-reaching environmental impacts and threaten millions of people’s access to food and water supplies. The FSO SAFER tanker holds 1.1 million barrels of oil — more than four […]
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