Oceans

When Republicans Supported the Environment: Bush 41

The GOP wasn’t always the sworn enemy of environmental protection.

Younger people today probably know about George Herbert Walker Bush (R) as the father of George W. Bush and (perhaps) as the architect of the first Iraq War. But he also had some notable environmental achievements to his credit. Here are some of his accomplishments: Air Pollution Law. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments were …

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Time to Get Serious about Climate Change and Oceans

Science can unlock powerful tools to fight climate change and ocean acidification, but only if we fund research and govern it well.

  In the Before Time, I spoke with a few ocean scientists on climate issues, and I heard a common refrain. Climate change receives little attention or funding, considering the magnitude of the problem; climate impacts on oceans get even less; and marine carbon removal gets almost none at all. Humans are short-lived terrestrial creatures. …

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Today is World Oceans Day

Our oceans need and deserve more sustained attention

Today, June 8, 2020, marks World Oceans Day. The official UN site carries the theme “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” The oceans give our blue planet its character. More than 70% of the earth’s surface lies under oceans. They hold 99% of the planet’s habitable space. Yet they have often been effectively invisible. Much less …

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Trump says he will allow commercial fishing in national monument

An Antiquities Act edition of “can he do that”?

On June 5, President Trump issued a “Proclamation on Modifying The Northeast Canyons And Seamounts Marine National Monument.” This Proclamation follows a court defeat for opponents of the National Monument — the DC Circuit last year dismissed a claim by commercial fishing interests that the National Monument was unlawfully designated. Trump’s Proclamation purports to modify …

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A Solar Geoengineering Milestone Goes Largely Unnoticed

Testing marine cloud brightening equipment. Credit: Brendan Kelaher/Southern Cross University

The first explicit, meaningful outdoor test garnered little attention in the news or from environmentalists

In response to insufficient cuts in greenhouse gas emission, some scientists and others are researching solar geoengineering. These techniques would reflect a small portion of incoming sunlight to cool the planet and counter climate change. A major step in solar geoengineering was recently taken, although you probably wouldn’t know it from reading the news or …

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Resuscitating Obama’s Environmental Legacy

Trump has had a single-minded focus on eliminating any traces of Obama’s presidency. But it’s not too late to turn the tide.

We’ve now had nearly four years of Trump’s all-out war on environmental protection. Trump has single-mindedly tried  to wipe out every trace of Obama’s legacy.  It’s time to see what’s left of Obama’s achievements. And what could a new President do to revive his legacy? In a Legal Planet post a week before the last …

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Coastal Beaches, Public Access & the Pandemic

Important Legal & Policy Considerations in Closing Beaches to Protect Public Health

As part of America’s steadily growing restiveness over state and local shelter-in-place directives, the issue of government-mandated public beach closures has recently emerged as a particularly contentious issue.  It’s especially prominent now, given that many coastal states are experiencing their first heat waves of 2020. Many Americans are increasingly weary of and angry over public …

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Earth Day’s 50th Anniversary: A Reflection

Why Celebrating Environmental Values & Goals Is Now More Important Than Ever

Today marks the 50th anniversary of America’s first Earth Day.  Beginning on April 22, 1970, the United States and global community have rallied each year to celebrate environmental values and goals.  It seems especially important to commemorate and continue that tradition in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic. The first Earth Day was a …

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Deferred Planetary Maintenance

It’s easy to put off long-term problems when there’s a crisis.  Much too easy, actually.

Long-term problems get short shrift in a crisis. That’s true of infrastructure repair; it’s also true of climate change.  Like deferred maintenance, climate change just gets bigger the longer it’s put off. I often see the fruits of deferred maintenance on the Berkeley campus. Building conditions are a huge problem at Berkeley. Whenever there’s a …

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Climate Change Threatens Tropical Fish Stocks. How Should Countries Respond?

As climate change warms the world’s oceans, marine scientists have paid special attention to how this will influence the movement of fish. Recent articles have shown that fish stocks are migrating toward colder waters in the poles. In a piece published yesterday in Nature Sustainability, a group of economists, marine scientists, and I examined for the first …

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