Oceans

Birthing Respect

I was a whale lawyer for years (or, more correctly, a lawyer for people working to protect whales and their habitat).  I therefore can’t resist the urge to link to this terrific piece in the NY Times magazine on the developing relationship between gray whales and their human fans in Laguna San Ignacio, one of the few remaining gray …

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For once, regulation precedes crisis

Often government doesn’t notice, or at least isn’t sufficiently motivated to respond to, the need for regulation until after something goes badly wrong (witness the financial market meltdown). But this week the National Marine Fisheries Service got ahead of the curve. On Monday, NMFS finalized a rule prohibiting all fishing for krill, the non-charismatic but …

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Edith Jones Declares War on America’s Coastline

Edith Jones, the 5th Circuit Chief Judge who makes wingnuts swoon, is at it again, this time in Severance v. Patterson, a Takings test case brought by the Pacific Legal Foundation.  For environmentalists, Severance is also a test case in who is going to have to pay for coastal damage from climate change.  Edith Jones …

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An Invitation to Review the Supreme Court’s Environmental Record

This has been a blockbuster year in the U.S. Supreme Court for environmental law and policy. In the Term that concludes this month, the justices have decided five major environmental cases, involving many of the nation’s most important environmental laws. Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy & the Environment (CLEE), one of the sponsors of …

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Fisheries governance and sustainability

An interesting new paper by a group at Dalhousie University compares several key aspects of fisheries management with a measure of the probability that fisheries are sustainable. The authors conclude that “policy transparency” is more strongly related to sustainability than scientific robustness,  implementation capability, or the extent of subsidies, overcapacity, and foreign fishing. The measure …

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The end of the Exxon Valdez legal saga?

Rick earlier posted about the 20th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. This week, the Ninth Circuit may finally have brought the litigation that followed that spill to a close. You may recall that last year the U.S. Supreme Court heard Exxon’s challenge to the punitive damages award against it, which had been set …

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National ocean policy under construction

President Obama today proclaimed June 2009 to be National Oceans Month, a time to “celebrate these vast spaces and the myriad ways they sustain life.” The proclamation calls on “all Americans to learn more about the oceans and what can be done to conserve them.” Beyond that symbolic move, Obama took an important step toward …

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Acid oceans coming to a beach, and theater, near you

Global warming has gotten so much attention lately that the public has largely overlooked another, independent consequence of rising CO2 concentrations: acidic oceans.  As discussed by Dan earlier this year, for many years the oceans have been silently absorbing CO2 and thereby buffering against even higher atmospheric GHG levels, staving off more warming — but with potentially devastating consequences …

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Save the Tuna!

Amid concerns about the possible exhaustion of tuna stocks, Science reports on a positive step: Representatives of Western Pacific island nations last week put the finishing touches on a series of bold new measures aimed at saving the world’s last great tuna stocks. Last May, the group decided to bar fishing in two huge pockets …

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Global warming winners? (oceans edition)

By now it is widely recognized that ocean warming and acidification caused by rising CO2 levels will adversely affect many organisms, especially those that depend on calcium carbonate shells. But there may be winners as well. Rebecca Gooding and a group from the University of British Columbia report in the Proceedings of the National Academy …

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