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Carbon Rangers/Ecozoic Times
Vol. 9  No. 5
June 2016
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Dear Reader,
Much
progress seems obvious in the year since Pope Francis presented the world with his thinking on care of Earth with the encyclical Laudato Si'.  We see encouraging signs in renewable energy efforts, the historic Paris Agreement on climate change signed on April 22nd by 175 nations promising to reduce their carbon emissions, some progress on food security in the fishing sector but more disturbing data from the antarctic about loss of ice and the implications for sea level rise.  ( Photo above shows the edge of an Antarctic glacier.)  Stephen Hawking notes additional danger in the release of  CO2 from the ocean floor as the seas grow warmer due to climate change.  This June edition of Carbon Rangers has a special focus on oceans as we celebrate World Oceans Day on June 8.

Forced Migration
The cry of the earth and the cry of the poor  are linked in the encyclical of Pope Francis.  Many poor are forcibly on the move around the world. It has been nearly a year since Michael Gerrard of the Columbia Law School's  Sabin Center for Climate Change Law briefed the UN Security Council on the growing climate-linked migration crisis.  He suggested an international process of sound planning before a grave crisis actually begins.  Many believe the refugee  crisis in Syria was spurred in part by conflict linked to a multi-year drought. Last year was the planet's hottest on record---perhaps the hottest since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. In Bangladesh an estimated 200,000 people are made homeless by erosion each year.  

World Oceans Day
The last section of this edition , after a word from Thomas Berry,  has a very long article by Liza Gross on care for the oceans and how the world is trying to organize itself around this issue.  The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) requires huge commitments of time and energy for anyone attempting to grasp the material. It is for the professional of course.  Most readers do not have the kind of time and persistence needed to take it all in.  I wanted to give some detail to the challenges so that it might serve as a resource to those of you who may be teachers.  I think it may also give encouragement.  Good to know these folks are trying to do the right thing about these massive problems.  Let's give them credit!

Cordially,
Kevin

 

 

"LAUDATO" One Year Anniversary June 2016

Pope Francis is getting well deserved credit for having a powerful influence on how the policy conversation moved on climate change last year.  Several observers of the Paris Climate talks and UN discussions have noted the impact of faith-based advocacy on discussions leading to the Paris Agreement.  We must continue to spread the message of Care for Our Common Home and reinforce the message that we must consume less and plan for a sustainable future.
Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home is his  letter—written not just for Catholics, but for people of all faiths.  Here he stressed some of the most important issues facing the world today, including climate change, the environment, poverty and the world economy.  The cry of the earth is the cry of the poor. 
The pope followed up Laudato Si’ with a historic visit to the United States where he met with top government officials.   He addressed the United Nations General Assembly and repeated his encouragement  to care for the planet.  He echoed themes of his encyclical in public statements and private conversations and made the case for growing our economies through clean energy and new technologies. Above all else, Pope Francis urged the world to come together to take immediate action to protect our planet and allow people from all walks of life to flourish.


Climate Success Stories 10 Years After the Release of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’

 
Ten years ago, An Inconvenient Truth brought the issue of climate change out into the open and into mainstream culture like never before. People began asking tough questions about our climate and wanted to know what they could do to make our planet a safer, healthier place for us all. And 10 years later, we can see the results.
 

China—the World’s Largest Carbon Emitter—Stepped Up  

Last summer, China made one of the strongest national commitments to climate action leading up to the UN’s COP 21 climate conference, pledging to expand total energy consumption from non-fossil fuel sources to around 20 percent by 2030. It will require China to deploy roughly 800–1,000 gigawatts of non-fossil fuel power by 2030 or about the total current electricity generation capacity in the U.S. This commitment solidified the progress China has made in recent years in combatting its dangerous air pollution problem.
As the world’s largest carbon emitter since 2006, China making a commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and using more and more clean energy is a major breakthrough. And if China can get serious about cutting emissions and embracing renewables, other nations are going to have to follow suit.
 

 The Growth of Renewable Energy and Clean-Energy Jobs

 There are already more than 705,000 jobs in solar energy in the U.S., employing Americans in all 50 states. The industry added more than 35,000 jobs in 2015 alone and is showing no sign of slowing any time soon with solar companies projected to add more than 30,000 new workers in 2016.  The wind industry isn’t far behind. The U.S. Energy Department predicts there will be more than 600,000 wind-related jobs by 2050, according to its Wind Vision Report, with high growth expected in fields like manufacturing, transportation and offshore wind. By the end of 2014, the U.S. had more than 73,000 jobs in wind energy and the state of Texas alone employed more than 17,000 people in wind-related jobs in 2014.
 

 World Leaders  Paris Agreement

In the years following An Inconvenient Truth, world leaders attempted to reach a consensus about how to solve climate change throughout various global summits, but never truly succeeded. That is, until last December, when world leaders came together at the UN’s COP 21 climate conference in Paris. The world watched as leaders from 195 countries negotiated for two weeks and finally reached a global agreement—known as the Paris agreement—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the primary factor driving climate change.
World leaders formally signed the Paris agreement this Earth Day, marking a turning point in the movement for climate solutions by setting a long-term goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. This is the most ambitious target ever formalized at this level—and a really big deal.   


Bulletin: India and US in Climate Accord
Especially good news on climate arrived on June 7, 2016, with the visit to USA of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. For the Americans, the most important part of Mr. Modi’s visit was his announced intention to formally join the Paris climate change agreement by the end of this year. So far, countries representing about 50 percent of global emissions have announced that they will submit legal paperwork to the United Nations documenting their compliance with the deal.

The pact will become binding when at least 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions formally join. The inclusion of India, the world’s third-largest emitter after China and the United States, would guarantee that the deal will go into effect before the next American president takes office.

Mr. Trump has vowed to “cancel” the Paris climate agreement if elected, something Mr. Obama is eager to prevent. Once the accord enters into legal force, no nation can legally withdraw for four years.

“If the Paris agreement achieves ratification before Inauguration Day, it would be impossible for the Trump administration to renegotiate or even drop out during the first presidential term,” said Robert N. Stavins, the director of the environmental economics program at Harvard. 

Ambition to Keep Below 1.5 C Rise
Countries must ratify the Agreement as soon as possible, and then work diligently to ensure that the objectives are met, by rapidly ramping up their ambition in line with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C. Climate impacts are already threatening the survival of some states, while damage to ecosystems and societies threaten numerous others. This May, scientists confirmed that five of the Solomon Islands have already disappeared below the waves. Terrible devastation by heat waves, droughts, floods and landslides is being experienced across South Asia.

 FISHING:  SUSTAINABILITY FOR PORTION OF BARENTS SEA
Ground-Breaking Agreement Marks First Voluntarily Limits to Industrial Fishing in Arctic


Large Corporations
Some of the world’s largest seafood and fishing companies committed Wednesday May 25, 2016, not to expand their search for cod into a large, previously ice-covered area of the northern Barents Sea. The area is twice the size of France. The group includes McDonald’s, Tesco, Iglo, Young’s Seafood, Icelandic Seachill, Russian Karat Group, FiskebÃ¥t—representing the entire Norwegian oceangoing fishing fleet and Europe’s largest processor of frozen fish, Espersen.

GreenPeace Support
The ground-breaking agreement brokered by Greenpeace marks the first time the seafood industry has voluntarily imposed limitations to industrial fishing in the Arctic. This means that any fishing companies expanding into pristine Arctic waters will not be able to sell their cod to major seafood brands and retailers.

Multinationals Engage
Currently there is no specific legal regime in place to protect Arctic areas that were previously covered by sea ice. The challenge is now on the industry to properly implement this new commitment and ensure their products are not linked to Arctic destruction. â€œToday, McDonald’s, Espersen, Young’s Seafood and Iglo, Findus and Birds Eye and many more have taken action together with the fishing industry to safeguard a huge marine area in the Arctic,” Greenpeace campaigner Frida Bengtsson said. “In the absence of significant legal protection of the icy waters of the northern Barents Sea, this is an unprecedented step from the seafood industry.”

Warming Seas Invite Larger Vessels
In March, Greenpeace investigations revealed how the melting Arctic sea ice has made it possible for large, bottom trawlers to venture into previously ice-covered “ecologically significant” areas. The report exposed how global, well-known food brands and retailers buying cod from the Barents Sea risked having their supply chain tainted with Arctic destruction.  At least 70 percent of all the Atlantic cod that ends up on dinner plates around the world is from the Barents Sea as such.

Stephen Hawking on Climate Change and Ice 

Warns of Release of Carbon Dioxide From Ocean Floor 
Sydney Robinson, The Ring of Fire 
| May 31, 2016 1:16 pm |
 Comments
Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has often been consulted in matters unrelated to space and many consider him among the most intelligent individuals to have lived. Which is why during an interview recently, with  Hawking’s assertion that there was something more dire facing America and the world than Donald Trump, people sat up and took notice. 

Hawking was asked if he could explain the rise of Trump, to which the man replied, “I can’t. He is a demagogue, who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”  â€œA more immediate danger is runaway climate change,” Hawking said.  â€œA rise in ocean temperature would melt the ice-caps and cause a release of large amounts of carbon dioxide from the ocean floor. Both effects could make our climate like that of Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees.”

In a ThinkProgress article about the interview, it was noted that most mainstream and corporate media ignored the second half of Hawking’s statement. Nevertheless, just like Sen. Bernie Sanders’ comments saying that climate change is more dangerous to the U.S. than ISIS, Hawking’s comments show the true enemy is ourselves.

As Increasingly Realistic Threat---Abrupt Sea Level Rise Looms 

Ninety-nine percent of the planet's freshwater ice is locked up in the Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Now, a growing number of studies are raising the possibility that as those ice sheets melt, sea levels could rise by six feet this century, and far higher in the next, flooding many of the world's populated coastal areas.

by Nicola Jones  in Yale Environment 360

Antarctica and Greenland
Antarctica is, for now, losing ice more slowly than Greenland. The latest data from the GRACE project  twin satellites that measure mass using gravity data  say Antarctica is losing about 92 billion tons of ice per year, with that rate having doubled from 2003 to 2014. The sizeable western half of Antarctica holds some of the fastest-warming areas on the planet. But Antarctica is vast  1.5 times the size of the United States, with ice three miles thick in places  and holds enough ice to raise global sea levels by roughly 200 feet.

Western Antarctica Peril
The larger, eastern half lies mostly above sea level and remains very cold; researchers have typically considered its ice stable, though even that view is beginning to change. The sizeable western half of the Antarctic, by contrast, has its base lying below sea level, and holds some of the fastest warming areas on the planet. You look at West Antarctica and you think: How come its still there? says Rignot.

Water Invading
Warming ocean water licking at the underside of the floating edges of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet is eating away at the line where the ice rests on solid rock. Much of the bedrock of the Antarctic slopes downward toward the center of the continent, so as the invading water flows downhill it seeps further and further inland, causing ever-larger chunks of glaciers to flow faster into the sea. This so-called grounding line has been eroding inland rapidly, in some parts of West Antarctica at rates of miles per year. In 2014, satellite radar images revealed just how vulnerable five massive glaciers flowing into the Admundsen Sea are from this effect. And a 2015 paper showed that the same thing is happening more slowly to Totten Glacier, one of the biggest glaciers in the east.

Meltwater Lubrication
Such dramatic processes have been the bane of Antarctic modeling and the reason why scientists have been loathe to put a number on sea level contributions from a melting southern continent. Then in March came a report in Nature that some say represents a step change in our ability to do that. DeConto and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University put into their ice sheet model two basic phenomena: meltwater trickling down to lubricate glacier flow, and giant walls of ice (created when the ends of glaciers snap off) simply collapsing under their own weight. These new modeling parameters gave DeConto and Pollard a better understanding of past sea level rise events. For the Pliocene era 3 million years ago, for example  when seas were dozens of feet higher than today  older models estimated that a partially melting Antarctic added about 23 feet to global sea level rise. The new model increased Antarctica's contribution to sea level rise during the Pliocene to 56 feet. 

A tax on rising sea levels is making waves in the San Francisco Bay.

The regional tax would help all the communities around the Bay lower their risk of flooding by restoring wetlands. Can everyone work together to make it happen? Fast Company


The Great Barrier Reef: A catastrophe laid bare.

Australia’s natural wonder is in mortal danger. Bleaching caused by climate change has killed almost a quarter of its coral this year and many scientists believe it could be too late for the rest. The Guardian


World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day, June 8,  is an opportunity every year to honor the world's oceans.  The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like a heart pumping blood to every part of  the body, the ocean connects people across the Earth, no matter where we live. The ocean regulates the climate, feeds millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to an incredible array of wildlife, provides us with important medicines, and so much more!  The ocean is Earth’s life support. 50 to 70 % of our oxygen comes from the ocean. That’s more than all of the world’s rainforests combined.
  The oceans have been absorbing excess carbon from the human activity for decades, thus slowing the impact of greenhouse gases heating the atmosphere.


"The Great Work, now as we move into a new millennium, is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.

The deepest cause of the present devastation is found in a mode of consciousness that has established a radical discontinuity between the human and other modes of being and the bestowal of all rights on the humans.

All human activities, professions, programs, and institutions must henceforth be judged primarily by the extent to which they inhibit, ignore, or foster a mutually enhancing human/Earth relationship."

-Thomas Berry


To Protect Earth’s Oceans

Marine governance favors consumption and commerce over conservation. Here's what we can do about it.    WRITER Liza Gross   @lizabio   May 23, 2016

19th Century
When New England fishers complained of working harder and harder to catch fewer and fewer fish, Spencer Baird assembled a scientific team to investigate. Though a fishery failure would once have seemed inconceivable, Baird wrote in his report, “an alarming decrease of the shore-fisheries has been thoroughly established by my own investigations, as well as by evidence of those whose testimony was taken.”

The report was Baird’s first as head of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries. The year was 1872.

Baird recognized the ocean’s limits. A decade later, however, his British counterpart, Thomas Huxley, took a decidedly different view. Calling the sea fisheries “inexhaustible,” Huxley deemed regulations useless, since “nothing we do seriously affects the number of fish.”

20th Century
Over the next century, as fishing became increasingly mechanized, Huxley’s notion that oceans are infinitely bountiful persisted even as evidence mounted that they are not. Today, 80 percent of global fish stocks have been fished to the limit or beyond, and our failure to protect the ocean — not just the fish in it — as a finite resource now threatens its ability to recover, argued an international commission of government and business leaders in a 2014 report.

“Habitat destruction, biodiversity loss, overfishing, pollution, climate change and ocean acidification are pushing the ocean system to the point of collapse,” the Global Ocean Commission co-chairs warned.

Scientists know how to cure many of the ills plaguing the high seas — that is, ocean waters farther than 200 nautical miles from shore, beyond the jurisdiction of nations. Restricting industrial activities like fishing, shipping and deep seabed mining in biodiversity hot spots would go a long way toward restoring ocean health, they say. But there is no room for such measures in a regulatory structure created to manage consumption and commerce, not conservation.

It’s a system that’s stubbornly clung to Huxley’s tunnel vision, even in the face of evidence so alarming Baird could scarcely have imagined.

Toothless Conservation 
The primary international framework for regulating the ocean’s bounty is the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. UNCLOS, which went into effect in 1994, was set into place to fill in gaps left by earlier U.N. agreements, which regulated shipping (through the International Maritime Organization) and fisheries (through the Food and Agriculture Organization).

The treaty was soon supplemented by the 1994 Implementation of Part XI of UNCLOS, which governs deep seabed mining of nonliving resources (through the International Seabed Authority), and the 1995 U.N. fish stocks agreement, which depends on 10 regional fisheries management organizations, known as RFMOs, to implement its sustainability guidelines.

UNCLOS depends on 166 countries to ensure their own citizens and vessels comply with the treaty in areas beyond national jurisdiction — two-thirds of ocean waters. Countries tend to sign on to intergovernmental agreements – called “sectoral” agreements because they govern different  business sectors — that reflect their national interests. These sectoral agreements create authoritative bodies to ensure the equitable use and exploitation of marine resources among nations. Although the sectoral bodies represent the interests of the fishing, mining, shipping and other industries they govern, they can pass conservation measures if they want to. And some have: One sectoral body, the International Whaling Commission, for example, introduced a moratorium on whaling in the 1980s under pressure from non-whaling member countries. In contrast, the RFMOs, sectoral bodies that mostly include only fishing nations as parties to the agreements, have generally resisted conservation measures.

Economic Factors Voluntary
UNCLOS also protects the economic interests of nations with provisions that give coastal countries exclusive rights to marine resources within 200 nautical miles offshore. Most offshore oil and gas exploration, for example, is overseen by countries within these exclusive zones. But inadequate national regulations can lead to disaster, as the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill — which left 11 dead and dumped nearly 5 million barrels of oil into U.S. waters in the Gulf of Mexico — made painfully clear. The only way to prevent similar disasters, the Global Ocean Commission panel argues, is through a binding international agreement on safety and environmental standards that holds corporations liable for environmental damage.

One of the biggest problems for ocean conservation, many scientists say, is that the sectoral agreements rely on binding measures for compliance, while conservation pacts, such as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals and the Convention on Biological Diversity, depend almost exclusively on voluntary measures.

There’s no overarching or even regional conservation agreement that can protect the high seas, says Jeff Ardron, adviser on marine governance at the Commonwealth Secretariat, an international public policy coalition in London. So scientists have to go through sectoral bodies one by one to protect a vulnerable ecosystem with mixed results, says Ardron. “It’s inefficient and frustrating and slow,” he says, “but they’re all we have right now.”

Sargasso Runaround 
Take, for example, the case of the Sargasso Sea, a massive stretch of ocean in the North Atlantic  named after the sargassum seaweed that supports a diverse community of turtles, fish, snails, crabs and other animals. The Sargasso provides spawning and nursery habitat for scores of species, including endangered American and European eels, which travel thousands of miles from rivers and streams to spawn in the itinerant mats of vegetation.

It’s the only sea bounded by currents, not land, yet that has afforded little protection from human impacts. The currents concentrate pollution, plastic and other debris. Scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute suspect these pressures may have contributed to significant declines in biodiversity since the 1970s, which they reported in a 2014 Marine Biology paper.

In 2010, Kristina Gjerde, high seas policy adviser for the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Global Marine and Polar Programme, helped set up the Sargasso Sea Alliance to protect this vulnerable ecosystem. Gjerde and her colleagues made the scientific case for recognizing the Sargasso as an important ecological area that warrants protection to the U.N.’s Convention on Biological Diversity. Delegates at the 2012 U.N. biodiversity talks agreed that the Sargasso meets the criteria for protection. But the authority to manage marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction lies with the intergovernmental sectoral organizations that share a stake in the area. So the Sargasso team had to appeal to each in turn.

First they approached the fishing body with jurisdiction over tuna fisheries in the Sargasso Sea, the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna. Representatives told the Sargasso team they didn’t see the rationale for protecting a region that doesn’t have much fishing. Next, the team approached the International Maritime Organization, which regulates shipping pollution. Officials wanted proof that sewage, ballast water discharge (which can carry alien species as well as pollution) or ship transit was harming the sargassum.

Bottom Trawling Restrained 
“Proof is a very hard level to surmount in any issue,” Gjerde says. That’s why scientists have been trying to convince the bodies governing industrial ocean activities to embed precaution into their activities, she says. Finally, after years of negotiations, Gjerde and her allies won at least some protection for the Sargasso. Last year, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization agreed to outlaw mid-water trawling gear that could harm the seabed, report any vulnerable indicator species caught in the trawlers and declare all seamounts in its jurisdiction off limits to bottom trawling through 2020.

The Sargasso team has not yet reached similar agreements with the International Maritime Organization or the International Seabed Authority, which governs mining of the sea floor. And that illustrates one of the most frustrating flaws in existing regulatory structures. The lack of a comprehensive regulatory framework means that ocean advocates can protect a sensitive area from one type of exploitation only to find it at risk from another.

Synergistic Threats 
The open oceans cover nearly half the Earth, harbor some of its most environmentally important regions, and provide employment and food security for tens of millions of people. Yet, with conservation bodies powerless to issue sanctions, it’s possible to exploit the ocean’s resources until there are no more resources to exploit.

Marine species at risk from overfishing must also contend with pervasive pollution from plastics, sewage, industrial chemicals, agricultural runoff and other contaminants. Ships release about 1.25 million metric tons (1.4 million tons) of oil each year, and cruise ships alone release as much as 30,000 gallons (100,000 liters) of sewage every day. Scientists estimate that plastic waste kills more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals a year.

Climate Change Alters Habitat
Adding to these stresses, scientists have documented evidence of climate change’s impacts on marine life. Cod and other deep-sea fish are moving toward the poles in search of colder waters. Coral reefs unable to tolerate warmer waters made 30 percent more acidic by excess carbon dioxide are experiencing widespread bleaching. And because warmer waters absorb less oxygen, species like tuna and marlin, already under intense pressure from fishing, are spending less time hunting in deep waters.

“Political will is at the heart of everything.” – Michael OrbachAs serious as these effects are, many scientists believe that controlling pollution and overfishing while protecting habitat can buy enough time to help species recover from climate change’s impacts. They say recent advances in satellite and remote sensor technology can now spot vessels that fish illegally, which could help keep millions of tons of fish off the black market. Interpol, the international police watchdog, recently established a fisheries crime unit to help countries apprehend pirate fishers when they come to port. But success depends on countries working together to hold illegal fishers accountable.

Convincing nations to collaborate on international conservation measures has proved a heavy lift, says Michael Orbach, professor emeritus of marine affairs and policy in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. “Political will is at the heart of everything,” he says.

Countries need resources for monitoring and enforcement, but they also need the will to use those resources for conservation. “That’s a big requirement,” Orbach says.

Hope on the Horizon 
If it were up to Orbach, all human activities on the high seas would need a permit from a regulatory body with the authority to monitor and sanction violators. That would solve the problem of relying on fisheries, shipping and mining organizations to police themselves.

But getting such a system up and running would require a mass outpouring of public support, Orbach says. And that’s not likely. “It’s very difficult to get the public behind ocean conservation,” he says. “It’s just not something most people know about.”

That’s why ocean advocates have been working behind the scenes for years to build biodiversity protections into the law of the sea. Finally, their efforts are paying off.

Resolution to Expand UNCLOS
Last year, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution to expand UNCLOS to protect marine biodiversity and genetic resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The resolution, which calls for developing marine protected areas and environmental impact assessments, lays the groundwork for creating stronger high seas conservation measures. The first of four “preparatory committee” sessions to hash out what those measures should look like took place this past spring.

Gjerde, who participated in the meetings, says the agreement shows that countries finally recognize that it will take an international legally binding agreement to ensure meaningful protections. With just 2 percent of the ocean protected — and some scientists recommending 30 percent to safeguard biodiversity — creating marine reserves is a top priority.

Just 2 Percent Protected
Some scientists recommend 30 percent to safeguard biodiversity.  So creating marine reserves is a top priority.The agreement aims to create a regulatory body with the authority and infrastructure to enforce conservation rules and sanction misconduct. It also provides a process for designating marine reserves that restrict any activities that could harm habitat from the deep seabed to the top of the water column.

The committee expects to deliver recommendations to the General Assembly at the end of 2017. Then the hard work of building international consensus on the new biodiversity agreement begins, a process that could take years.

But a lot could happen before then. There’s nothing stopping sectoral organizations from setting up protected areas right now, says the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Ardron. “They just have to be convinced that there’s a need to do it.”

Public Engagement Needed
And that’s where the public can play a role. Consumers can influence the fisheries, for example, through the power of the pocketbook, or pressure their governments to enact emission controls on ships, a source of largely unregulated greenhouse gas emissions.

Ultimately, good ocean governance lies beyond what individuals can accomplish.Social media can also be useful, says Gjerde. While scientists and conservation groups were urging the International Seabed Authority to open its mining decisions to public scrutiny, a Twitter campaign helped get nearly 800,000 signatures on a petition calling for the same thing. If enough people voice concern about the oceans, scientists can use the outpouring of support as leverage at the preparatory committee’s next UNCLOS marine biodiversity meeting in August, says Gjerde.

Ultimately, good ocean governance lies beyond what individuals can accomplish. And Gjerde believes the new U.N. biodiversity agreement will finally give scientists the framework they need to set oceans on the path to recovery. She found reason to be optimistic at the first round of talks in April. Rejecting Huxley’s insistence 130 years ago that humans could never harm our planet’s expansive oceans, delegations came prepared to grapple with what they had to do to ensure sustainable management of the seas.

And that, says Gjerde, “is a huge step forward."  Link is here.

 


Copyright © 2016 Edmund Rice International, All rights reserved.


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