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As countries around the world attempt to make their economy more green, they’re turning to the ocean for climate solutions. On Tuesday, Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, participated in a virtual event to demonstrate the advantages of “blue” climate initiatives. Leaders from around the globe attended the event — the UK’s Environment Minister, Chile’s Foreign Minister, and the Prime Minister of Fiji. Kerry announced the U.S. will spearhead several ocean-based initiatives combatting climate change, including decarbonizing the global shipping sector by 2050, creating three massive marine reserves near Antarctica, and helping small island nations adapt to sea-level rise and other climate impacts.
Why this Matters: Ocean-based climate strategies tend to take a back seat to emissions cuts in the transportation and fossil fuel sectors. But the ocean could be pivotal to lowering the global temperature — a 2019 study found that ocean-based projects could reduce as much as 21% of carbon emissions. These solutions include offshore carbon sequestration, floating solar panels, and tidal energy. President Biden has already begun to push for offshore wind, recently green-lighting a massive project near Massachusetts. Kerry pledged to make ocean solutions a major “leg” of the climate meeting later this year.
As we have reported, one of the most ambitious ocean conservation projects ever, called the Blue Nature Alliance, launched yesterday. More than a half-dozen organizations agreed to work together to create fully protected marine reserves of parks covering an ocean area (7 million square miles), which is twice the size of the continental U.S. and larger than South America. This effort will also provide benefits for combatting climate change by strengthening ocean health generally from other “stressors” like pollution and overfishing and illegal fishing.
Jane Lubchenco, the top White House climate scientist, told Axios: “There’s no doubt that the ocean has been a victim of climate change. What the new science is telling us, and these leaders are now incorporating into their actions, is that the ocean can also be a powerful source of solutions.”
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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