World's First Floating City to Combat Rising Sea Levels
In an effort to adapt to climate change, French Polynesian government officials signed a "Memorandum of Understanding" with San Francisco's Seasteading Institute to jumpstart the development of the world's first self-sufficient floating city.
"Our venture is poised to launch a seasteading industry that will provide environmental resiliency to the millions of people threatened by rising sea levels, provide economic opportunities to people in remote and economically deprived environments, and provide humanity with new opportunities for organizing societies and governments," Seasteading Institute Executive Director Randolph Hencken wrote in a blog post about the agreement signed on Jan. 13.
As described by Ensia, the Seasteading Institute has worked to establish independent city-states in the open ocean since 2008. According to a 2013 survey administered by institute, more than 1,000 people expressed interest in moving to these floating cities.
This vision, however, has its critics, who have described the idea as economically unfeasible "techie island fantasy." Additionally, the project was once attached to controversial Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel, who threw in around $1.7 million into the concept in 2008, envisioning it as "a sort of libertarian utopia." Thiel, however, is no longer involved.
Even if some consider the idea far-fetched, seasteading has taken a major step in becoming reality. Now that an agreement has been signed, the next step is for the French Polynesian government and the Seasteading Institute to establish a legal structure for these "seazones" to have a "special governing framework" by the end of 2017. Site-specific environmental studies and economic impact studies will also need to be conducted.
Reason.com has posted a copy of the memorandum on its website. "The government of French Polynesia recognizes that the rising waters threaten its lands, its inhabitants and their precious way of life," the document states. "The Government of French Polynesia publicly committed to 'make every effort to preserve the Polynesian natural and cultural heritage to become a global showcase of sustainable development.'"
The memorandum touts that the project "will bring new technologies, new research horizons and new economic activities to French Polynesia."
"The Seasteading Institute's project is an opportunity to develop new living spaces on the sea and offers the possibility of multiplying this type of sustainable habitats in other places," it states. "It opens the capability of gaining new living spaces for countries threatened by rising water levels, overpopulation, or other dangerous phenomena."
While the exact location and construction details were not revealed, the seastead will consist of innovative floating platforms and will utilize renewable energy resources. The video below shows how solar arrays and wave-driven turbines will power the man-made floating city.
If everything goes to plan, construction will start in 2019.
Hencken told Huffington Post that once it's constructed, the floating city can be a major site for oceanographic and climate resilience research and implementation, including experiments with wave and tidal energy, combatting rising ocean heat and acidification, as well as developing new ways to trap atmospheric carbon on the sea floor.
"The possibilities are endless," Hencken said.
Eleven peaceful activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise have taken to the water in inflatable boats with handheld banners to oppose the Statoil Songa Enabler oil rig, 275 km North off the Norwegian coast, in the Arctic Barents sea.
The banners say: "People Vs. Arctic Oil" and are directed at Statoil and the Norwegian government, which has opened a new, aggressive search for oil in the waters of the Barents Sea.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) paved the way Friday for the 600-mile, 42-inch fracked gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline to proceed when it issued the final environmental impact statement (FEIS). A joint project of utility giants Duke Energy and Dominion Energy, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline would move fracked gas from West Virginia into Virginia and North Carolina.
In April, the Sierra Club submitted more than 500 pages of legal and technical comments on FERC's draft EIS, which were joined by more than 18,000 individual comments detailing opposition to the project. The pipeline has been met with widespread opposition, with more than 1,000 people participating in public hearings across the three affected states. The Sierra Club recently requested that FERC issue a new environmental review document analyzing information that came in after or late in, the public comment process.
By Jessica Corbett
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"ExxonMobil demonstrated reckless disregard for U.S. sanction requirements," according to enforcement filing released by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which issued the penalty. Though the fine is reportedly the maximum penalty allowed, it's pittance to one of the world's most profitable and powerful corporations, which last year reported a profit of $7.8 billion.
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The text of the ordinance details the climate impacts facing South Miami.
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Just last week, we fact-checked and debunked every line of The Dirty Secrets of Electric Cars, a video produced by Fueling U.S. Forward, a Koch-funded campaign to push fossil fuels. That video represents the group's first public pivot from fossil fuel boosterism to electric vehicle (EV) attacks. More electric vehicle experts are also picking the video apart.
One effort is this video highlighting many of the same falsehoods we wrote about, and which adds key context about some of the video footage. Like, for instance, the fact that the photo that Fueling U.S. Forward claims is a lithium, cobalt or cerium mining operation is actually a copper mine.
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A recent series of articles by a Washington Post reporter could have some consumers questioning the value of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) organic seal. But are a few bad eggs representative of an entire industry?
Consumers are all for cracking down on the fraudulent few who, with the help of Big Food, big retail chains and questionable certifiers give organics a bad name. But they also want stronger standards, and better enforcement—not a plan to weaken standards to accommodate "Factory Farm Organic."