A new study published in Science Advances Friday found that 80 percent of the plastic that enters the world's oceans via rivers comes from more than 1,000 waterways. That's as much as 100 times the number of rivers previously estimated, study leader the Ocean Cleanup explained.
The Ocean Cleanup is a nonprofit launched by Slat with the goal of using technology to remove 90 percent of the plastic waste floating in the ocean. As part of that goal, the organization funded three years of research into how and how many rivers were significantly contributing to plastic pollution.
Their findings upended some previous assumptions, as National Geographic explained. In 2017, two studies concluded that 90 percent of the plastic that enters the ocean via rivers was contributed by a small fraction of the world's rivers — 10 in one study and 20 in another. Further, these rivers were large rivers that traveled a long way, such as Egypt's Nile or China's Yangtze. However, the new study has found that the biggest culprits are actually smaller rivers in urban areas. The 16-mile Pasig River in the Philippines is now considered a greater contributor to ocean plastics than the Yangtze, which flows 3,915 miles and was formerly ranked the most plastic-polluted river.
The new insights are based on an increased amount of data and new modeling.
"One big difference from a few years ago is we don't consider rivers mere conveyor belts of plastics," lead author Lourens J.J. Meijer told National Geographic. "If you put plastic into the river hundreds of kilometers from the mouth, it doesn't mean that that plastic will end up in the ocean."
While the results give would-be cleaners more rivers to focus on, Ocean Cleanup is still confident that it can use the data to help remove plastics.
"While this number is much higher than previous estimations (100 times), it is only 1% of rivers worldwide, which means solving the problem is feasible," Meijer wrote for Ocean Cleanup. "By collectively taking a global approach with various technologies to target these most polluting rivers, we can drastically reduce the influx of plastic into the ocean."
To that end, the Ocean Cleanup launched the Interceptor, a solar-powered device that gobbles up plastic carried on a river's current. The devices are already at work on some of the world's most polluted rivers in Southeast Asia and the Carribean, according to National Geographic. In 2019, the nonprofit announced a plan to install the devices in 1,000 rivers within five years, though the pandemic has slowed down the rollout somewhat.
"We hope to be operational in 10 rivers by the end of the year," Slat told BBC News. "And what we truly believe is that if we do 10 rivers really well, that forms the foundation to do the next 100. If we do 100, we can also do 1,000."
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By Jake Johnson
A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt the final blow to former President Donald Trump's attempt to open nearly 130 million acres of territory in the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to oil and gas drilling.
Though the Trump administration appealed the ruling, President Joe Biden revoked his predecessor's 2017 order shortly after taking office, rendering the court case moot. On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to dismiss the Trump administration's appeal.
"Because the terms of the challenged Executive Order are no longer in effect, the relevant areas of the [Outer Continental Shelf] in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Atlantic Ocean will be withdrawn from exploration and development activities," the court said in its order.
Erik Grafe of Earthjustice, which represented a coalition of advocacy groups that challenged Trump's order, said in a statement that "we welcome today's decision and its confirmation of President Obama's legacy of ocean and climate protection."
"As the Biden administration considers its next steps, it should build on these foundations, end fossil fuel leasing on public lands and waters, and embrace a clean energy future that does not come at the expense of wildlife and our natural heritage," Grafe continued. "One obvious place for immediate action is America's Arctic, including the Arctic Refuge and the Western Arctic, which the previous administration sought to relegate to oil development in a series of last-minute decisions that violate bedrock environmental laws."
VICTORY: 9th Circuit ends fight over President Trump's illegal attempt to open up 128 million acres of Atlantic & A… https://t.co/TvYVt2F1jO— Earthjustice (@Earthjustice)1618347073.0
In January, Biden ordered a temporary pause on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters, a decision environmentalists hailed as a positive step that should be made permanent.
"We call on President Biden to keep his promise: a full and complete ban on fracking and fossil fuel extraction on public lands. Full stop," Food & Water Watch policy director Mitch Jones said at the time. "The climate crisis requires it and he promised it."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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CBD, or cannabidiol, now comes in a variety of different forms, including CBD oils, CBD gummies, CBD capsules, and even water soluble CBD powders. You can also use CBD vape oil like you would any other vape juice. Our guide to the best CBD vape oils will help you identify the top brands to consider and will provide important information about CBD, vaping, and wellness.
What is CBD Vape Oil?
CBD can be vaporized and inhaled. To that end, many companies offer CBD vaping products, sometimes referred to as CBD vape juice, CBD vape pens, or CBD vape cartridges. These products normally come as disposable or refillable cartridges for vape pens . The vape pen vaporizes the specially made CBD contained in the cartridge, which is then inhaled. It is the same principle behind e-cigarettes and THC vape products.
Vaporization is normally considered a potent way to ingest CBD and so it is not for everyone. Because the vapor is inhaled, the molecule enters the bloodstream much quicker, so vaping produces a fast and relatively intense feeling.
While CBD vape oil may be used as an aid to help you quit smoking, we do not recommend smoking or vaping CBD as your primary method of ingesting CBD because of the health concerns associated with smoking. For alternative methods of taking CBD, check out our oil tincture and CBD gummy reviews.
Note that new federal laws went into in effect starting April 2021 as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, that place new regulations and restrictions around the online sale and delivery of all vaping products. In order to purchase any vape product online, you will need to verify your age and use a shipping service that requires an adult signature upon delivery. As a result, several brands have discontinued their CBD vape pens or no longer sell them online.
Top CBD Vape Oil Products for 2021
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. You can learn more about our review methodology here. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
How We Chose the Best CBD Vape Oils
Here is a list of factors we consider when choosing and ranking our brand selection.
Hemp source - Hemp source is one of the most important parts of the CBD manufacturing process. We make sure to only pick companies that grow hemp according to the most up-to-date botanical and cultivation methods. We also make sure to choose companies that use organically grown, locally-sourced hemp.
Extraction process - There are three primary types of extraction for CBD products. The first involves crushing the leaves and stems and removing the residual mixture. Solvent extraction involves running the hemp plant through a solvent mixture (most of the time ethanol) then boiling away the solvent to leave the oil residue. The last common method is called supercritical CO2 extraction. Supercritical CO2 extraction is considered the gold standard when it comes to CBD production. As such, we try to find companies that use supercritical methods for their products.
Manufacturing standards - There are several third-party organizations that vet companies based on manufacturing standards and the quality/accuracy of their products. These agencies test company products to make sure that they are made properly and actually contain what they are advertised to contain. As such, we only choose products and companies that have readily accessible third-party lab reports ascertaining the quality of ingredients and production. Any company that does not provide this information for consumers is automatically excluded from consideration.
Extra ingredients - CBD products rarely contain just CBD and nothing else. Many contain a full spectrum of cannabinoids and other molecules such as terpenes. Some may contain delta-8 THC. We make sure that any companies we choose use all-natural ingredients and do not rely on any synthetic or artificial chemicals. We also look at the type and quality of alternative ingredients
Potency - Potency, or concentration, refers to the overall strength of the mixture. Potency is normally measured in milligrams per milliliter (mg/ml). Most of the time a product will list the potency on the label along with the quantity and volume of the product. Potency is very important because it determines the recommended dose that you should take.
Brand transparency - It is important when dealing with CBD companies that the brand is transparent about their products, methods, and supply chains. So, when looking for companies, we make sure only to pick those that have reliable and transparent business practices, product labelings, and company information/policies.
Customer reviews and testimonials - The last major factor we consider is customer reviews and testimonials. Customer reviews encompass more than just the quality of products. They also talk about how it is to interact with the company and the overall company experience. Customer reviews can also give insights in specific matters that general product descriptions cannot give. They also give a good indication of the public reputation of a company.
The Best CBD Vape Oils of 2021
Best Overall: CBDistillery CBD E-Liquid
- CBD - Broad Spectrum
- Strength - 1000 mg CBD per bottle
- Flavor - Mango
Best for Relaxation: Botany Farms CBG Vape Cartridge
- CBD - Full Spectrum (includes Delta-8 THC)
- Strength - 35% CBD, 25% CBG, 9% Delta-8 THC, 7% CBN, 7% CBC per 1 gram
- Flavor - Lemon Diesel
Why buy: This Botany Farms CBG vape cartridge offers a full spectrum blend of CBD and other cannabinoids, including delta-8 THC, for a calming and relaxing experience with a bright, citrusy flavor. Because it does contain full spectrum hemp extract and delta-8, we strongly recommend only using this product to relax in the evenings and that you do not drive after use.
The Research on CBD Vape Oils
CBD has become an interesting object of study by scientists because of its potential therapeutic and medicinal properties. CBD may help support relief from certain health conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Joint pain
Out of all these effects, the potential pain reducing and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD are the most well-established. CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and has also been shown to be to help with pain management in certain cases.
The exact mechanism of action of CBD is through the body's endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a large network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body's brain and nervous tissue. Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system is involved in mediating several homeostatic processes in the body.
To be clear, CBD is not medicine and is not generally approved by the FDA for medical use. CBD is not intended to serve as a substitute or replacement for any approved medical treatment and CBD is not known to cure any diseases.
In fact, there are only 2 FDA-approved medicines that contain CBD as their active ingredient, both of which are meant to treat certain forms of epilepsy. Since CBD is not approved for medical use, you should always talk to your doctor first before using a CBD product.
How to Choose the Right CBD Vape Oil
With any CBD vape juice or oil, it's important to make sure that you choose a product that is safe and made using quality, natural ingredients. Make sure you consider these factors when shopping.
What to Look For
Here are the key things to look for when comparing CBD vape oil products:
Type of CBD: Always known the type of CBD contained in any CBD vape oil product, whether that's full spectrum, broad spectrum, or CBD isolate.
Hemp Source: Look for brands that source their hemp from organic farms in the United States.
Lab Testing: The most important factor to consider is independent third-party lab testing. You should never purchase a CBD product that does not offer proof of independent testing.
Instructions: Some CBD vape cartridges will include specific instructions on how to to use them with your existing vape pen or device, as well as if they can be mixed with other e-liquids.
How to Read Labels
Take the time to read the label of any CBD vape juice product before you buy. Always look for the following information.
- Strength - Check to see how much CBD is contained in the product so you know how much will be in each serving.
- Other Ingredients - Make sure you know what other cannabinoids or ingredients are included in the vape, especially if you are concerned about THC.
- Test Results - The best brands include links or QR codes to the certificates of analysis from the lab tests of their CBD. Use these to check the results for yourself.
Safety & Side Effects
CBD can cause a certain number of side effects, though most of them are mild.. The most common reported side effects of CBD are:
- Dry mouth
- Changes in appetite
- Upset stomach
The most commonly reported side effect is fatigue and tiredness. CBD can also interact with certain prescription medications, so be sure to consult with your doctor before using CBD if you take any prescription medicines.
It's also important to note that vaping or smoking of any kind carries serious health risks. While vape oils may be used to aid in the cessation of smoking, it is not advised as the primary method of taking CBD.
You should always take the time to research any CBD product that you purchase, but this is especially important when it comes to CBD vape oils and CBD vape pens. You can also explore other CBD options including oil tinctures, gummies, capsules, and water soluble mixes in order to enjoy the potential benefits of CBD.
The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) helps move heat from the tropics to the Northern Hemisphere, and is one of the reasons why Europe has relatively mild winters, Science Alert explained. However, the current has begun slowing down in recent years, and scientists want to know what it would take for the current to stop. A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Monday calculates that this moment could come sooner than expected.
"It is worrying news. Because if this is true, it reduces our safe operating space," Johannes Lohmann of the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and study co-author said in a press release.
Essentially, the new findings come down to timing. The AMOC is threatened by increasing freshwater into the North Atlantic as the Greenland ice sheet melts. A certain amount of freshwater will cause the current to stop. But Lohmann wanted to test what would happen if that water were added quickly instead of gradually.
"These tipping points have been shown previously in climate models, where meltwater is very slowly introduced into the ocean," Lohmann told Gizmodo. "In reality, increases in meltwater from Greenland are accelerating and cannot be considered slow."
So researchers used an ocean model called Veros to calculate when the current would stop if freshwater were gradually added, the press release explained. Researchers then added freshwater at increased rates and found that quickly added freshwater would stop currents before reaching the initial freshwater threshold.
This has serious implications for the AMOC current itself. If it were to completely halt, tropical monsoon patterns would shift, rainfall in the Northern Hemisphere would decrease and the North Atlantic would get stormier. It also raises concerns about other climate tipping points, such as polar ice sheets collapsing or the Amazon rainforest drying out. If the AMOC can stop before the previously calculated tipping point is reached, is the same true for other systems?
"The results show that the safe operating space of elements of the Earth system with respect to future emissions might be smaller than previously thought," the study authors wrote.
However, outside scientists urged caution. Dave Sutherland, an associate professor in Earth sciences at the University of Oregon, told Gizmodo that the findings were important and timely, but that the models did not take all details into account, such as the location of the meltwater entering the ocean from Greenland.
Lohmann agreed that more testing is needed, but also pressed the urgency of climate action.
"Due to the potentially increased risk of abrupt climate change in parts of the Earth system that we show in our research, it is important that policymakers keep pushing for ambitious short- and mid-term climate targets to slow down the pace of climate change, especially in vulnerable places like the Arctic," Lohmann told Gizmodo.
A first-of-its-kind study has examined the benefits of protecting the world's oceans.
"Ocean life has been declining worldwide because of overfishing, habitat destruction and climate change. Yet only 7% of the ocean is currently under some kind of protection," Dr. Enric Sala, explorer in residence at the National Geographic Society and lead author of the study, said in a press release emailed to EcoWatch. "In this study, we've pioneered a new way to identify the places that — if strongly protected — will boost food production and safeguard marine life, all while reducing carbon emissions."
For the study, 26 researchers examined unprotected ocean areas to determine the ones most threatened by human activities, which protections would effectively mitigate. They then developed an algorithm to determine which areas would do the most to boost biodiversity, fisheries and climate action if protected. The idea was not to tell countries which areas to protect, but rather to give global decision makers a range of options depending on their priorities.
Protecting the areas highlighted in the study could safeguard more than 80 percent of the habitats for endangered marine life. Ninety percent of the top 10 percent of priority areas were within the Exclusive Economic Zones of particular nations, the study authors found. Other priority areas were within international waters, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Mascarene Plateau, the Nazca Ridge and the Southwest Indian Ridge.
"Perhaps the most impressive and encouraging result is the enormous gain we can obtain for biodiversity conservation — if we carefully chose the location of strictly protected marine areas," Dr. David Mouillot, a report co-author and professor at the Université de Montpellier in France, said in the press release.
Protecting parts of the ocean can actually boost fisheries over time, because these areas serve as nurseries for commercial fish and crustacean species that eventually leave the protected area, The New York Times reported.
Researchers found that by strategically protecting 28 percent of the ocean, fish stocks would increase by about 6.5 million tons, compared with a business-as-usual model where nothing is protected and fishing continues at its current rate.
"Some argue that closing areas to fishing hurts fishing interests. But the worst enemy of successful fisheries is overfishing— not protected areas," Sala said in the press release.
The study also revealed a surprise finding about the fishing industry's contribution to the climate crisis.
Bottom trawling — fishing by dragging heavy nets across the ocean floor — can release roughly the same amount of carbon into the ocean as the airline industry emits into the air. This is because marine sediments are important carbon stores that can safely hold carbon for millennia. However, if disturbed by dragging nets, these carbon deposits can revert back to carbon dioxide, increasing ocean acidification, hampering the ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide and potentially reaching the atmosphere as greenhouse gas emissions.
This finding came as a surprise because researchers had not planned to calculate bottom trawling emissions until they were asked to by a peer reviewer, Sala told The Times.
"I could not believe it," he said of the data. "Immediately I went to Google and checked the global emissions by sector and by country, and said, 'Wow, this is larger than Germany's.'"
About four percent of the world's ocean would need to be protected in order to prevent most of these emissions, and most fall within national boundaries. The top 10 countries that contribute to bottom trawling emissions are China, Russia, Italy, the UK, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Croatia and Spain, according to The Guardian.
The study was released as part of the buildup to the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Kunming, China, later this year. Researchers and conservationists hope the study can offer a blueprint for these talks and bolster the goal of protecting 30 percent of global land and water by 2030.
"This research sets the foundation for the next era of ocean conservation to be one that truly places biodiversity and people at the heart of national conversations," Dr. Jennifer McGowan, study co-author from the Center for Biodiversity and Global Change at Yale University, said in the press release. "As the world prepares to set the global agenda for the next decade of climate and biodiversity policy, this research provides the bedrock upon which decisions-makers can map and plan interactions with the ocean to deliver multiple benefits for people and biodiversity."
When you look up at the Milky Way, you may be looking at stars surrounded by planets with oceans like ours.
"All our data suggest that water was part of Earth's building blocks, right from the beginning. And because the water molecule is frequently occurring, there is a reasonable probability that it applies to all planets in the Milky Way," study lead author professor Anders Johansen from the Centre for Star and Planet Formation at the GLOBE Institute at the University of Copenhagen said in a press release.
Scientists previously theorized that water arrived on planets like Earth after they formed through collisions with ice asteroids. This would make the presence of water on any planet in the galaxy a matter of chance. But, in recent years, new theories have emerged. Another paper published in August 2020 found that water may have been part of Earth's original building blocks.
That paper, led by the French-based Centre de Recherches Pétrographiques et Géochimiques, drew its conclusions by looking at the composition of a type of meteorite that has a similar composition to early Earth.
The new study, on the other hand, was based on computer models. The researchers modeled planet formation to see how long it would take using which building blocks. They calculated that Earth, Venus and Mars were all made through a process called "pebble accretion," in which millimeter-sized particles of dust and ice gather together into planets.
"Up to the point where Earth had grown to one percent of its current mass, our planet grew by capturing masses of pebbles filled with ice and carbon. Earth then grew faster and faster until, after five million years, it became as large as we know it today," Johansen said in the press release.
This theory does not require water to be brought to a planet from outside. Instead, what determines the presence of liquid water on the planet is how far it is from its sun. It also increases the likelihood that liquid water would form on other planets in our galaxy, since they could have formed in the same way from the same materials.
This, in turn, increases the chance that these planets would host extraterrestrial life.
'With our model, all planets get the same amount of water, and this suggests that other planets may have not just the same amount of water and oceans, but also the same amount of continents as here on Earth. It provides good opportunities for the emergence of life," study co-author professor Martin Bizzarro, also at the University of Copenhagen, said in the press release.
This is not the first study to suggest that other planets in our galaxy were likely to have oceans. A NASA-led study published in June of 2020 looked at the likelihood that other planets in the Milky Way would have ice-covered oceans similar to those on Saturn's moon Enceladus and Jupiter's moon Europa. They calculated that 14 of the 53 planets they studied could be ocean worlds.
A major new literature review published in Science on Thursday found that noise from vessels, sonar, seismic surveys and construction can damage marine animals' hearing, change their behaviors and, in some cases, threaten their ability to survive.
"When people think of threats facing the ocean, we often think of climate change, plastics and overfishing," Neil Hammerschlag, a University of Miami marine ecologist who was not involved with the paper, told The Associated Press. "But noise pollution is another essential thing we need to be monitoring."
Sound is key to how ocean animals communicate with each other and navigate their environments. Underwater, it is only possible to see for tens of yards and to detect a chemical signal from hundreds of yards away, The New York Times explained. Sound, on the other hand, can travel thousands of miles, which is why many marine creatures have evolved to detect and emit it.
However, the singing of whales and groaning of coral reefs contribute to an underwater soundscape that is significantly changing because of human activity. To better understand, a 25-author research team reviewed more than 10,000 papers on the topic.
For one, the researchers wrote, overfishing and habitat loss have decreased the sounds generated by ocean life.
"[T]hose voices are gone," Carlos Duarte, study lead author and Red Sea Research Center marine ecologist, told The Associated Press.
The climate crisis is also altering sounds from geophysical sources such as sea ice and storms, the study found.
Then there is the noise humans have added through shipping traffic, fossil fuel exploration and even intentional attempts at deterrence. Evidence shows that these noises harm marine mammals, but several studies show that they impact fish, invertebrates, sea birds and reptiles as well.
For example, salmon farms in British Columbia's Broughton Archipelago installed sonic harassment devices to keep seals from eating the fish, The New York Times reported. This had the unintended consequence of driving away killer whales until the devices were removed.
Another example are clownfish, who rely on sounds to guide them back to the coral reefs where they were born, after drifting on the open ocean as larvae. But human-caused noise can now obscure the cracking and snapping of coral, forcing some clownfish to drift forever.
"The soundtrack of home is now hard to hear, and in many cases has disappeared," Duarte told The New York Times.
While this is distressing, the good news is that something can be done about it. Noise is what is known as point-source pollution, the study explained, meaning you can identify the place or activity that is causing the problem and remove it, reversing its effects.
"In theory, you can reduce or turn off sound immediately — it's not like plastics or climate change, which are much harder to undo," Francis Juanes, study coauthor and University of Victoria ecologist, told The Associated Press.
Despite this, noise is not mentioned in the UN's Law of the Sea B.B.N.J. agreement or its 14th sustainable development goal, which focuses on ocean life, The New York Times reported. Researchers hope that their work will inspire policy makers to take ocean noise seriously and deploy already available solutions.
"Slow down, move the shipping lane, avoid sensitive areas, change propellers," Steve Simpson, study co-author and University of Exeter marine biologist, told The New York Times.
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The Montreal Protocol banning ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 1987 has been hailed as an example of successful international collaboration to stop an environmental threat. But, like a creature from a horror movie, those banned chemicals could rise from the depths to stalk our atmosphere once again.
That's the finding of a new study, which concluded that the ocean would shift from absorbing to releasing at least one type of CFC, known as CFC-11, by the end of this century. By the mid-2100s, the ocean could emit enough to be detectable.
"By the time you get to the first half of the 22nd century, you'll have enough of a flux coming out of the ocean that it might look like someone is cheating on the Montreal Protocol, but instead, it could just be what's coming out of the ocean," Susan Solomon, study co-author and Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, said in an MIT press release. "It's an interesting prediction and hopefully will help future researchers avoid getting confused about what's going on."
The research, led by MIT, is newly published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. To draw their conclusions, researchers used models to simulate the ocean's current and future uptake and release of CFC-11. They found that by 2075, the ocean would emit more of the chemical than it absorbed. By 2145, it would release enough to be detectable by existing technologies.
The models found that this process could be sped up by the climate crisis. If the planet warms by five degrees Celsius by 2100, the ocean will become a net emitter of CFC-11 by 2065 and release detectable levels by 2140.
"Generally, a colder ocean will absorb more CFCs," Peidong Wang, a study lead co-author from MIT, explained in the press release. "When climate change warms the ocean, it becomes a weaker reservoir and will also outgas a little faster."
However, the ocean's eventual release of CFC-11 is not dependent on the climate crisis. Instead, it is based on another mechanism, as LiveScience explained:
[T]he ocean and atmosphere tend to stay in balance. When the atmosphere has a lot of a water-soluble molecule, like a CFC, the oceans suck some of it up. And when the oceans have a lot of that same molecule but the atmosphere doesn't, they tend to release it back into the air. As the world has stopped producing CFCs, atmospheric CFC levels have dropped, and the oceans are absorbing less and less from the air. Eventually, the balance will tip, and the oceans will become net-emitters of CFCs.
CFCs were commonly used in refrigerants, aerosols and household and industrial goods during the second half of the 20th century. They were thought to be non-toxic, non-flammable alternatives to substances such as ammonia and butane. However, they too broke down once released into the atmosphere, bonding with ozone and weakening the ozone layer that protects the planet from harmful ultraviolet radiation. This discovery led to CFCs being banned under the Montreal Protocol of 1987.
However, during their heyday, oceans absorbed about five to ten percent of all CFC-11 emissions, the study authors wrote. When CFCs eventually release back into the atmosphere, their lifetime will be extended by five years. The researchers found that the ocean would continue to release CFC-11 until the end of their study period.
"By the end of the run in 2300, the effect of the ocean on atmospheric CFC-11 remains significant," they wrote.
The scientists behind the study said that more work could be done to understand the interchange between the ocean, CFC-11 and the atmosphere.
"Some of the next steps would be to do this with higher-resolution models and focus on patterns of change," Jeffery Scott, another MIT study co-author, said in the press release. "For now, we've opened up some great new questions and given an idea of what one might see."
For the first time, researchers have identified 100 transnational corporations that take home the majority of profits from the ocean's economy.
Referred to as the "Ocean 100," the corporations accounted for 60 percent of $1.9 trillion generated from core industries in the ocean economy in 2018 alone, according to an article by the Duke Nicholas Institute. The research was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances by researchers at Duke University and the Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University.
"Now that we know who some of the biggest beneficiaries from the ocean economy are, this can help improve transparency relating to sustainability and ocean stewardship," the lead author John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, said in an article by the Duke Nicholas Institute. Some of the identified corporations included Saudi Aramco and Brazil's Petrobras, Reuters reported.
More than three billion people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, according to a report by the OECD. Yet across eight industries studied, including offshore drilling, seafood production and processing and cruise tourism, researchers found that just 10 companies in each of the industries generated 45 percent of the industry's revenue.
"The fact that these companies are headquartered in a small number of countries also illustrates that concerted actions by some governments,could rapidly change how the private sector interacts with the ocean," co-author Henrik Österblom, science director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, said in the article by the Duke Nicholas Institute.
In response, the international community adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, which for the first time sought to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."
But such agreements overlook the ocean's potential to mitigate climate change, Janis Searles Jones, the Ocean's Conservancy CEO wrote in a Nature article. "We need greater ambition to give the ocean a fighting chance," she added.
The researchers' identification could help environmental groups like the Ocean Conservancy pressure corporations into adopting sustainability goals that include climate mitigation strategies.
"Senior executives of these few, but large companies, are in a unique position to exercise global leadership in sustainability," Virdin added.
In 2015, Österblom and his colleagues published a paper that analogized transnational corporations to keystone species, according to the article by the Duke Nicholas Institute. They noted both have a major impact on how ecosystems function and disproportionate power to determine how other species in the ecosystem operate.
"Just knowing who they are is the first step in getting them involved in what needs to be done," Österblom noted in Reuters.
But depending on corporations to adopt sustainable practices may not be enough to reach international sustainability goals.
"In 2018, Chevron announced it would invest $100 million that year in lowering emissions through its new Future Energy Fund," Michael O'Leary and Warren Valdmanis wrote on Vox on holding companies accountable to their climate commitments. That same year, Chevron invested $20 billion in oil and gas.
"For those who put their faith in corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a panacea for our ailing society, we have the unfortunate reality: This kind of allocation of efforts is not uncommon. Superficial public commitments on issues like sustainability and diversity are much easier for companies than substantive action," they added.
Oceans will play an increasingly critical role in the global economy, the researchers note. Whether pressuring the ocean's major actors to adopt sustainable practices will translate into tangible corporate responsibility will reveal itself sooner or later.
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While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
As the planet's largest ecosystem, the ocean stabilizes climate, stores carbon, nurtures biodiversity and directly supports human well-being through food, energy, medicinal, cultural and recreational services, the United Nations recently reported. However, poor management and conservation have led to serious degradation of ocean resources, which is only set to increase as the world's population does, the report noted.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels
The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.
According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," Science Direct reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.
As recently as Aug. 2020, Reuters noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.
"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.
Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.
Current, upward shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.
In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," iTrade reported.
Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub theDOCK. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.
"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."
In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.
Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren
theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.
"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."
There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.
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As the call to protect 30 percent of land and ocean ecosystems by 2030 gains momentum, how much of Earth is currently protected?
That is the question answered by the latest Protected Planet Report, released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) on Wednesday, as ABC News reported. The latest edition of the biennial report had some good news — at least 17 percent of land environments are protected as of 2020 — but the quality of those protected areas could still be improved.
"Protected and conserved areas play a crucial role in tackling biodiversity loss, and great progress has been made in recent years on strengthening the global network of protected and conserved areas," UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre director Neville Ash said in a press release. "However, designating and accounting for more protected and conserved areas is insufficient; they need to be effectively managed and equitably governed if they are to realise their many benefits at local and global scales and secure a better future for people and planet."
The report set out to assess how well world leaders had succeeded at meeting 11 of the 20 biodiversity targets set by the UN Convention on Biodiversity at a 2010 meeting in Aichi, Japan. An assessment last year showed that none of these targets had been met in full. However, the new report indicates that, at least on target 11, the world has made meaningful progress.
Target 11 set a goal of protecting 17 percent of land and inland water ecosystems and 10 percent of coastal and marine ecosystems by 2020. This first goal has been met. The report calculated that 16.64 percent of land ecosystems were currently protected, and that the true number was likely higher than 17 percent, as not all data is currently available. Protection efforts fell short of the second half of the target, however, as only 7.74 percent of marine or coastal ecosystems are currently protected.
In terms of the quantity of land added, the last decade saw significant progress, the report noted. An area greater than the size of the Russian Federation has been conserved since 2010, and new areas are added every month. While the total area of ocean conserved fell short of the target, there was a lot of relative growth in this area, with 68 percent of that growth reported in the last 10 years.
However, there is still more to be done. About a third of areas identified as crucial for biodiversity, both on land and at sea, are yet to be protected. Further, there is insufficient data on how well governed and managed the currently protected areas are, and only 7.84 percent of land is both protected and connected, something necessary to allow animals to travel safely.
"Many protected and conserved areas are not demonstrating effectiveness," James Hardcastle, who leads the IUCN's green list initiative, told The Guardian. "There hasn't been enough focus on the quality. They're not able to fulfill their true potential."
The report called for increasing connection between protected areas and working to recognize more areas that are already protected due to the efforts of Indigenous or local communities. Further, it urged justice-minded conservation that makes sure local residents are helped, not harmed, by protections.
The report comes at a key time, as world leaders are once again set to gather for biodiversity talks in Kunming, China in October and set new goals.
"As biodiversity continues to decline, we now call for Parties at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming to set an ambitious target that will ensure protected area coverage of 30% of land, freshwater and ocean by 2030 — and these areas must be placed optimally to protect the diversity of life on Earth and be effectively managed and equitably governed," IUCN Director General Dr. Bruno Oberle said in the press release.
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By Nathalie Chalmers
The ocean is our lifeline - its health is essential to our health. Securing the ocean's well-being will have positive impacts across many global challenges we face today such as poverty, hunger, human health, unemployment, inequality and more. Finding and elevating promising ocean innovations wherever they may be, connecting them and helping them scale is crucial to ensure we protect one of our planet's most valuable assets.
In that vein, UpLink - a digital platform for scaling innovation and driving progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals - is proud to unveil its second cohort of ocean innovators.
To find these innovators, we launched our second Ocean Solutions Sprint alongside four partners: The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), and the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT).
We believe these innovations have the potential to address some of the key opportunities in the ocean space today, such as protecting and restoring coral reefs, scaling restorative aquaculture, unearthing technologies for marine protection and helping invest in nature-based solutions.
Scientists say climate change and pollution could kill off the world’s coral reefs by 2100. UpLink has launched a… https://t.co/kWgbY7ncq8— World Economic Forum (@World Economic Forum)1600707600.0
Over the next few months, we will work with the cohort to help them scale their impact through mentoring opportunities, capacity building workshops, exposure and visibility, as well as introductions to experts and potential investors where relevant. These organizations will join a growing community of UpLink innovators who are benefiting from the platform.
We would also like to thank supporting partners from the investment side Aquaspark, The Blue Natural Capital Financing Facility (BNCFF), Blue Ocean Partners, Hatch and Katapult Ocean for their support during this challenge.
Welcome to our new ocean innovators cohort:
Arc Marine's innovative Reef Cubes can help boost large-scale coral restoration projects and provide eco-friendly marine habitats while also protecting man-made assets.
A new home for endangered sea animals. 📕 Read more: https://t.co/QWeJtsxNDo @WEFUpLink https://t.co/nxKHUY2otR— World Economic Forum (@World Economic Forum)1603746000.0
Atlantic Sea Farms is creating products made from sustainably farmed sea greens, while also expanding opportunities for fishing communities and helping them to mitigate the effects of ocean acidification.
Cascadia Seaweed provides healthy plant-based nutritional food, climate action and ocean regeneration, and economic resiliency for Indigenous communities through seaweed cultivation in British Columbia.
CHARM, the innovative coral farming robot, combines scientific research with computer automation to reduce costs, save time, and grow resilient coral colonies at economies of scale.
Kelp Blue is a restorative large-scale offshore kelp cultivation enterprise that produces sustainable agri-foods and bio-stimulants which displace environmentally damaging alternatives.
Mussel Farm Mechanization in Brazil aims to increase productivity and competitiveness of small-scale mussel farms in Santa Catarina, through the adoption of mechanized farming systems and the integration between farmers and processing companies.
Plant a Million Corals and their adaptable, low-cost coral restoration units, can be deployed to not only increase coral growth but also to empower communities to take an active role in conservation.
Sea6 Energy modernizes tropical seaweed farming to produce large quantities of inexpensive biomass from which a whole range of products are derived.
Australian Seaweed Institute is developing seaweed biofilter technology to protect the Great Barrier Reef through a network of seaweed biofilters that can be harvested for use in products such as animal feed and biofertilizer.
SharkSafe Barriers help promote a friendly coexistence between sharks and humans by installing vertical bio fences that mimic kelp forests and use magnetism to deter shark species.
WIPSEA specializes in digital environmental surveys and deep-learning techniques to map large marine mammals and human activities at sea.
Reposted with permission from World Economic Forum.
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In order to create ocean floor images, scientists typically need to use air guns that shoot sound beneath the waves. The sound waves travel through the crust and bounce back to instruments on the seafloor, Scientific American explained. This provides important information about the workings of earthquakes and the ocean's ability to store carbon, but the loud noise can interfere with marine mammal communications.
Now, it looks like scientists have found a new method thanks to marine mammals themselves.
"It shows these animal vocalizations are useful not just for understanding the animals, but also understanding their environment," John Nabelek, study co-author and Oregon State University College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences professor, said in a university press release.
Fin whales can grow to be 60 tons and 80 feet long, according to The New York Times. Their songs are proportionate to their size, reaching up to 189 decibels. They can also be heard from 600 miles away, Scientific American reported.
"They're nearly as loud as a big container ship," William Wilcock, a marine geophysicist at the University of Washington and not part of the study, told The New York Times.
The study found that those sound blasts can help scientists create images of the Earth's subsurface 1.6 miles below the seafloor, Scientific American reported.
Seismologist Václav Kuna, an Oregon State doctoral student at the time, made this accidental discovery, according to the press release. While listening to seismometer recordings, Kuna kept hearing one-second chirps that would repeat every 30 seconds, The New York Times reported.
He realized that the sounds were coming from fin whales, but something seemed unusual about them, Scientific American explained. At the time, seismometers, which measure vibrations, were recording the songs, instead of underwater microphones. That meant the whale song was echoing from below ground.
"After each whale call, if you look closely at the seismometer data, there is a response from the Earth," Nabelek said in the press release.
The press release explained the process and its meaning for the scientists:
Whale calls bounce between the ocean surface and the ocean bottom. Part of the energy from the calls transmits through the ground as a seismic wave. The wave travels through the oceanic crust, where it is reflected and refracted by the ocean sediment, the basalt layer underneath it and the gabbroic lower crust below that.
When the waves are recorded at the seismometer, they can provide information that allows researchers to estimate and map the structure of the crust.
The researchers were able to use songs recorded by three different seismometers in order to pinpoint the whales' location and make images based on their calls.
Imaging the area immediately below the seafloor can help scientists understand earthquakes and how they impact ocean sediment. The whale songs could also provide information about the location of earthquakes and the amount of carbon that can be stored in ocean sediments, Scientific American reported.
Because fin whales live everywhere except the ice-covered Arctic, their songs are a widely available tool, Wilcock told Scientific American.
Kuna told The New York Times that he did not think fin whale songs could replace air guns since they create relatively weak seismic waves and therefore low-resolution images. But air gun surveys are expensive and it can be hard to obtain permits to use them, so whale songs can fill in the gaps, the press release explained. And relying more on whale songs can reduce the underwater noise pollution that is harming marine life, according to a recent scientific review.
"It's win-win," Kuna told The New York Times.
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