This article refers to a workshop organized mainly by Todd Capson from our team, working with partners in NZ and with the Marine Conservation Institute:
Aquaculture experts from the United States and New Zealand are meeting in Nelson to focus on protecting the $350 million industry in New Zealand from harmful ocean acidification.
About 60 shellfish experts will share knowledge at the workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ocean acidification is the progressive increase in the acidity of the ocean, which caused a dramatic decline in Pacific oyster larvae in the United States in 2007.
It is not a problem in New Zealand currently, but it is important ocean monitoring systems are in place to enable the government to track future changes in ocean chemistry, the Ministry for Primary Industries says.
“There are key lessons to be learned from our colleagues in the United States that will assist us in focusing research, planning and management practices to enable the industry to grow despite pH decline,” Cawthron Institute aquaculture scientist Dr Norman Ragg says.
The New Zealand aquaculture industry is worth $350m a year.
Week of November 27, 2013
PMEL successfully deployed the first carbon dioxide flux and ocean acidification mooring in the Northern Indian Ocean on November 23. The Bay of Bengal Ocean Acidification (BOBOA) mooring will help us understand the large intraseasonal, seasonal and interannual biogeochemical variations in the Bay of Bengal, and how the marine ecosystem in the Bay is changing over time.
This mooring is part of the Research Moored Array for African-Asian-Australian Monsoon Analysis and Prediction (RAMA) made possible through a close partnership with NOAA and Bay of Bengal partners. Read more and see live data on the BOBOA Carbon website.
This past week my deputy Marie Damour traveled to Nelson for a workshop on ocean acidification which our Embassy co-sponsored with the New Zealand government, the NZ seafood industry and the Gordon & Betty Moore foundation. The workshop, titled “Future Proofing New Zealand’s Shellfish Aquaculture: Monitoring and Adaptation to Ocean Acidification,” was intended to respond to what Secretary of State John Kerry describes as the “economic, environmental, and policy concerns created by increasing levels of carbon dioxide and the resulting acidification of our oceans.”
The two-day conference brought together more than 60 shellfish experts to share their knowledge in order to help identify ways to protect New Zealand’s NZ$ 350 million (US$ 285 million) per year aquaculture industry from the effects of climate change. The agenda was organized around two topics identified as top priorities during the 2012 session of the N.Z.-U.S. Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation – (1) Climate Change Monitoring, Research, and Services in the Pacific, and (2) Marine and Ocean Research.
Just as climate change has evolved from a purely scientific discussion into a set of significant economic and security concerns, ocean acidification has quickly evolved from a theoretical exercise into a major economic threat. Just looking at the United States, for example, one of every six jobs is marine-related, and more than one-third of the Gross National Product originates in coastal areas.
A team of international scientists has launched an ambitious mission to understand how the warming and acidification of the world’s oceans will affect Europe’s shellfish.
Currently scientists do not fully understand how species such as oysters, mussels, scallops and clams produce their shells, or how a change in environment will affect their populations. To address this, the European Union is funding a €3.6 million programme called CACHE (Calcium in a Changing Environment).
Coordinated by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in Cambridge this multi-national programme, which aims to train a new generation of marine scientists, will look at every aspect of how the animals produce their shells and strive to identify populations which are resilient to climate change.
The shellfish industry is an important contributor to the European marine economy – dubbed the “Blue economy” – which is currently worth €500 billion every year and provides an estimated 5.4 million jobs.
These relatively small animals play an important role in the oceans because they are a crucial part of marine biodiversity and, as they make their shells out of calcium carbonate, they have a role in absorbing CO2. While the fishery industry built around them provides jobs in rural communities the animals themselves are also seen as an important and healthy food.
Shellfish have been highlighted as being particularly at risk under future climate change scenarios.
The risk comes because their shells are made of calcium carbonate – a substance which dissolves under acidic conditions. As the oceans become warmer and more acidic their shells will either thin, or the animals will have to expend more energy on producing thicker shells. This will affect their population sizes and the quality of the meat they produce, directly affecting the fisheries economy and damaging consumer choice.
First meeting of the Ocean Acidification international Reference User Group (OAiRUG), 2-4 December 2013, Oceanographic Museum, Monaco.
Nov. 25 2013
An oil rig pumps near the hills of California’s Wind Wolves Preserve.
A new study out on Monday says that the United States’ is emitting far more of the greenhouse gas methane than previously thought. The study, published by the National Academy of Sciences, estimates that in 2008 the US emitted 50 percent more methane gas into the atmosphere than was previously thought by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The new data indicates that methane could be a bigger challenge in combating global warming than scientists previously thought, according to the Associated Press. Here’s more from the AP:
Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warming gas, although it doesn’t stay in the air as long. Much of that extra methane, also called natural gas, seems to be coming from livestock, including manure, belches, and flatulence, as well as leaks from refining and drilling for oil and gas, the study says.
The new research, NBC News reports, “is based on atmospheric methane measurements taken from the top of telecommunications towers that stick more than 1,000 feet into the air as well as from airplanes.”
In early October, Washington Sea Grant released 20 Facts About Ocean Acidification–the product of a collaboration between WSG, NOAA, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Plymouth Marine Labs and other international partners. Feedback on this initial document has helped us improve the precision of the facts, resulting in this November 2013 update:
Andrew Dickson gave a talk on Oct 5th, 2013 at a local TEDx event in San Diego:
By John Stang, crosscut.com
Gov. Jay Inslee wants a climate change panel to consider a cap-and-trade program on industrial emissions and a carbon tax to be sent to the Washington Legislature as recommendations.
Meanwhile, the panel’s two Republican members want the economic costs of any climate change-related proposals researched before any are adopted.
The panel met Monday in Olympia with each of its five members — Inslee, two Republican legislators and two Democratic legislators — saying what he or she wants explored more. “My concerns is that we go forward without determining the costs to the the people of Washington state of going forward,” said panelist Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.
“We’re going to look for the single most cost-effective way of doing this,” Inslee said.
Inslee wants the upcoming recommendations to come with the best available estimates of how much carbon emissions each will trim from the state’s long-range greenhouse-gas picture. That is to ensure that the panel’ meets the goals set by a 2008 law.
In 2008, Washington’s Legislature set a goal of reducing the state’s greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, with further trimming of emissions to 25 percent below Washington’s 1990 level by 2035 and to 50 percent below by 2050. So far, nothing has happened. Early this year, Inslee successfully lobbied the Legislature to set up a task force to map out how those goals can be reached. The task force is supposed to have recommendations for the state Legislature by Dec. 31.
“Failure is not an option to meeting these legislatively mandated goals,” Inslee said.