National Wildlife Federation Holds Symposium on Gulf Oil Disaster
The National Wildlife Federation is sponsoring the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Symposium with the National Aquarium Conservation Center, Mote Marine Laboratory and Johns Hopkins University Nov. 2-4 at the National Aquarium.
NRDA for the Gulf: Improving Our Ability to Quantify Chronic Damages will allow symposium participants to discuss long-term effects and solutions resulting from the Gulf oil disaster. Since the disaster, scientists/researchers have been studying the impacts on natural resources in the Gulf and working together to find immediate and long-term solutions.
National Wildlife Federation will host a panel discussion on how local communities can participate in the NRDA process to ensure fair outcomes. The panel will examine ongoing relationships with the Gulf Coast community to set criteria about the most effective ways to use restoration funds and how to engage the community in restoration work.
“The Gulf of Mexico’s natural resource-based economy is in serious trouble due to the Deepwater Horizon disaster and now, with federal and state governments poised to recover billions of dollars from the responsible companies, we have a real opportunity to help jumpstart recovery. To get this right, it will be crucial that citizens and independent scientists have significant input into how restoration dollars are spent,” said John Kostyack, vice president of Wildlife Conservation for National Wildlife Federation.
“This symposium gives us the opportunity to work with Gulf communities to develop strategies that will ensure restoration investments are put to work to benefit people and wildlife,” said John Hammond, Southeast regional executive director for National Wildlife Federation.
“Gulf coast communities impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill should have access to the most recent scientific evidence regarding damages associated with this spill. Further, a mechanism needs to be put in place that will ensure access of community representatives to the formal NRDA process,” said Erik Rifkin, interim executive director for the National Aquarium Conservation Center.
Scientists at Mote Marine Laboratory have been at the forefront of research to understand the effects of the Gulf oil disaster since 2010. Mote has partnered with NWF to bring experts from around the world and local Gulf of Mexico stakeholders together to identify a strategy forward.
“Past ecological disasters have damaged marine ecosystems through a domino effect, but it is difficult to forecast the impacts from the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Dr. Michael Crosby, senior vice president for Research at Mote Marine Laboratory. “Science priorities must include immediate comprehensive risk assessment for trophic cascades and response management scenarios. We must act now to establish a permanent BP-funded endowment with independent oversight to support—in perpetuity—the needed long-term research, monitoring and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico.”
Trophic cascades are chain reactions that can occur when a single key species or multiple species in an ecosystem experience stress or declines in population size, which in turn lead to dramatic shifts in the overall balance of entire ecosystems on regional scales. Identifying a strategy to move forward will be key in understanding changes in the Gulf of Mexico. An important mechanism could be the establishment of a new research center designed to coordinate and focus efforts related to understanding trophic cascades caused by the Gulf oil disaster.
Send a message to Congress, urging them to commit Clean Water Act penalties to restoring the Gulf.
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A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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