News

Is there warming in the pipeline? A multi-model analysis of the Zero Emissions Commitment from CO2

Abstract.

"The Zero Emissions Commitment (ZEC) is the change in global mean temperature expected to occur following the cessation of net CO2 emissions and as such is a critical parameter for calculating the remaining carbon budget. The Zero Emissions Commitment Model Intercomparison Project (ZECMIP) was established to gain a better understanding of the potential magnitude and sign of ZEC, in addition to the processes that underlie this metric. [...]"

Source: Biogeosciences
Authors: Andrew H. MacDougall et al.
DOI: 10.5194/bg-17-2987-2020

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Operationalizing Ocean Health: Toward Integrated Research on Ocean Health and Recovery to Achieve Ocean Sustainability

Abstract.

"Protecting the ocean has become a major goal of international policy as human activities increasingly endanger the integrity of the ocean ecosystem, often summarized as ‘‘ocean health.’’ By and large, efforts to protect the ocean have failed because, among other things, (1) the underlying socio-ecological pathways have not been properly considered, and (2) the concept of ocean health has been ill defined. Collectively, this prevents an adequate societal response as to how ocean ecosystems and their vital functions for human societies can be protected and restored. We review the confusion surrounding the term ‘‘ocean health’’ and suggest an operational ocean-health framework in line with the concept of strong sustainability. [...]"

Source: One Earth
Authors: Andrea Franke et al.
DOI: 10.1016/j.oneear.2020.05.013

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HKU study shows that control of anthropogenic atmospheric emissions can improve water quality in China’s coastal Seas

"A new research led by MPhil student Miss Yu Yan Yau and supervised by Dr Benoit Thibodeau from the Department of Earth Sciences and the Swire Institute of Marine Science, the University of Hong Kong (HKU), highlighted the importance of reducing fossil fuel combustion not only to curb the trend of global warming, but also to improve the quality of China’s coastal waters. The findings were recently published in the prestigious journal Environmental Science & Technology. [...]"

Source: The University of Hong Kong

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Preparatory Meeting Stresses 2020 as a New Chapter of Ocean Action

"Participants at the 2020 UN Ocean Conference Preparatory Meeting highlighted the importance of a healthy ocean in implementing and achieving the SDGs and stressed that 2020 must be a year of concrete action for the ocean. The 2020 Ocean Conference is one of the first milestones of the UN Secretary-General’s Decade of Action for the SDGs and is expected to provide inputs into the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. [...]"

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Ocean Conference has potential to be a ‘global game-changer’

"“Life under water is essential to life on land”, said Tijjani Muhammad-Bande. The ocean produces “half of the oxygen we breathe” and provides food for millions of around the world, playing a “fundamental role in mitigating climate change as a major heat and carbon sink”. The Ocean Conference, which will run in Lisbon from 2 to 6 June, aims to propel science-based innovative solutions in the form of global ocean action. The worldwide ocean economy is valued at around $1.5 trillion dollars annually, as aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and 350 million jobs world-wide are linked to fisheries. [...]"

Source: UN News

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World Oceans Day: Scientists ‘taken aback by scale and speed of ocean changes’

"Armed with better data than ever before, scientists have in recent months sounded the alarm over the rising pace of global warming and the parlous state of Nature. But there is another area of concern, one that covers two thirds of the planet and plays a crucial role in absorbing dangerous greenhouse gases and regulating everything from food chains to weather patterns. Oceans are crucial to life on Earth, yet they frequently only feature in the environment debate when plastic pollution or fish-stock declines are discussed. But experts believe that might be changing. “We have an important opportunity over the next 18 months to do something for oceans,” said Dan Laffoley, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. [...]"

Source: France24

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Slaking the world’s thirst with seawater dumps toxic brine in oceans

"Growing populations and tightening water supplies have spurred people in many places—including the Middle East, Australia, California and China—to look to the oceans and other salty waters as a source of new drinking water. But desalination plants are energy intensive and create a potentially environment-harming waste called brine (made up of concentrated salt and chemical residues), which is dumped into the ocean, injected underground or spread on land.

Despite the ecological threats, “there was no comprehensive assessment about brine—how much we produce,” says Manzoor Qadir, assistant director of the United Nations University Institute on Water, Environment and Health. So he and his colleagues calculated that figure and found it is 50 percent greater than the desalination industry’s previous rough estimate. In fact, it is enough to cover Florida with 30 centimeters of brine every year. [...]"

Source: Scientific American

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‘Stop treating seas as a sewer,’ MPs urge in bid for protection treaty

"A new global agreement to protect the seas should be a priority for the government to stop our seas becoming a “sewer”, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

Plastic pollution is set to treble in the next decade, the environmental audit committee warned, while overfishing is denuding vital marine habitats of fish, and climate change is causing harmful warming of the oceans as well as deoxygenation and acidification. [...]"

Source: The Guardian

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UK must support ‘Paris agreement for the sea’ to protect global oceans, say MPs

"British seas are being treated “like a sewer”, polluted by an endless stream of plastics, untreated waste and farming effluent, MPs have warned. In a damning new report, the Environmental Audit Committee has laid out the dangers facing the nation’s oceans and what needs to be done to address them.

Besides pollution, climate change, overfishing and deep sea mining are all threatening marine ecosystems and the trillions of pounds they deliver to the economy, the report states. [...]"

Source: Independent

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Nitrogen – ocean plastics pollution’s forgotten neighbour

"Tremendous – and deserved - attention has been paid for the last few years to the scourge of ocean plastics pollution, which we now know reaches the farthest depths of the ocean and can have impacts on ocean life from the smallest plankton to the largest whales.  We know (Jambeck et al., 2015) that some 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year. UN Environment has estimated the socio-economic costs of ocean plastics pollution at about US$13 billion per year.  We are only beginning to explore and understand the potential human health impacts of plastics in the oceanic food chain. [...]"

Source: United Nations Development Programme
Author: Andrew Hudson

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