Oceans should have a place in climate ‘green new deal’ policies, scientists suggest

Related Articles

Related Articles

The world’s oceans play a critical role in climate regulation, mitigation and adaptation and should be integrated into comprehensive “green new deal” proposals being promoted by elected officials and agency policymakers, a group of ocean scientists suggests in a new paper.

“The ‘green new deal’ has been the headline, but very few have been talking about the oceans in those conversations,” said Steven Dundas, an environmental and resource economist in Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station in Newport, Oregon.

“We think it’s important to add a touch of ocean blue to this conversation because the oceans play an important role in efforts to mitigate effects of climate change,” he said. “Our proposed ‘teal deal’ is an integrated approach that is more likely to generate cost-effective and equitable solutions to this global threat.”

Dundas is one of three senior authors of the paper, which was published recently by the journal Conservation Letters. The other senior authors are Arielle Levine and Rebecca Lewison of San Diego State University. Additional authors include OSU’s Angee Doerr, Ana Spalding and Will White.

The scientists highlight four areas of investment commonly touted in “green new deal” proposals that also apply to the world’s oceans: energy, transportation, food security and habitat restoration.

“Adding the oceans to climate policy doesn’t mean you’re ignoring the terrestrial approaches to climate change mitigation,” Dundas said. “It means adopting a portfolio approach that includes both. We hope this paper and our recommendations broaden the policy options needed to meet the grand challenge of climate change.”

Subscribe to more articles like this by following our Google Discovery feed - Click the follow button on your desktop or the star button on mobile. Subscribe

The concept of a green new deal emerged last year as a way to address climate change. International environmental leaders are now suggesting that coronavirus recovery plans present an opportunity to address climate change.

In the renewable energy sector, the ocean’s winds, waves and currents represent a significant source of clean energy that could reduce emissions, meet demand for electricity and spur economic growth through new industry. But many hurdles remain, since offshore energy projects are subject to a range of regulatory policies from the local to the national level, the researchers said.

In the transportation sector, 80% of merchandise around the globe is transported by sea, contributing about 3% of human-made emissions. Growth in world trade is predicted to increase emissions by 150 to 250% by 2050. But measures to address and improve maritime emissions reductions are largely absent from international efforts. Modifying hull designs, relying more on biofuels or wind power and other steps could reduce shipping emissions, the researchers suggested.

In the area of food security, marine fisheries remain one of the most sustainable sources of protein for human consumption, with a lower total carbon footprint than many land-based food sources.

As climate change impacts the size and distribution of marine resources, fishing communities are faced with a few options: following the fish, which could increase costs and emissions; finding an alternative livelihood, which is often not feasible; and switching to a new species, which also could come with increased costs and requires careful fisheries management, the researchers said.

Aquaculture – the term for commercially raising fish or growing seafood products – also holds potential for growth at a relatively low emissions cost, researchers said. For example, seaweed aquaculture could mitigate hundreds of tons of emissions each year.

“Properly executed aquaculture, paired with sustainable fisheries, has the potential to enhance the food supply, decrease the carbon footprint of protein sources and sequester carbon at the same time,” said Lewison.

In the area of habitat restoration, investment in projects that restore coastal habitats such as mangroves, tidal wetlands, kelp forests and seagrasses should be a key component of climate policy, the researchers suggest. These habitats currently store up to 25 billion metric tons of carbon, and further restoration could increase that storage capability.

Coastal habitat restoration also can increase flood and erosion protection and mitigate storm impacts, reducing the vulnerability of coastal populations to extreme weather impacts and reducing costs of disaster aid.

“Investing in these four sectors can benefit communities across the United States,” said Levine. “The impacts and the benefits go far beyond coastal communities.”

The researchers hope to use the paper and their argument to encourage policymakers to consider the oceans in “green new deal” proposals moving forward.


Header Image – Public Domain

- Advertisement -

Download the HeritageDaily mobile application on iOS and Android

More on this topic


Volubilis – The Ancient Berber City

Volubilis is an archaeological site and ancient Berber city that many archaeologists believe was the capital of the Kingdom of Mauretania.

Pella – Birthplace of Alexander The Great

Pella is an archaeological site and the historical capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedon.

New Argentine fossils uncover history of celebrated conifer group

Newly unearthed, surprisingly well-preserved conifer fossils from Patagonia, Argentina, show that an endangered and celebrated group of tropical West Pacific trees has roots in the ancient supercontinent that once comprised Australia, Antarctica and South America, according to an international team of researchers.

High-tech CT reveals ancient evolutionary adaptation of extinct crocodylomorphs

The tree of life is rich in examples of species that changed from living in water to a land-based existence.

Fish fossils become buried treasure

Rare metals crucial to green industries turn out to have a surprising origin. Ancient global climate change and certain kinds of undersea geology drove fish populations to specific locations.

Archaeologists Discover Viking Toilet in Denmark

Archaeologists excavating a settlement on the Stevns Peninsula in Denmark suggests they have discovered a toilet from the Viking Age.

Innovation by ancient farmers adds to biodiversity of the Amazon, study shows

Innovation by ancient farmers to improve soil fertility continues to have an impact on the biodiversity of the Amazon, a major new study shows.

Lost Shiva Temple Buried in Sand Discovered by Local Villagers

Villagers from the Perumallapadu village in the Pradesh’s Nellore district of India have unearthed the 300-year-old Temple of Nageswara Swamy on the banks of the Penna River.

Ma’rib – Capital of the Kingdom of Saba

Ma'rib is an archaeological site and former capital of the ancient kingdom of Saba in modern-day Ma'rib in Yemen

Giant Egg Discovered in Antarctica Belonged to Marine Reptile

A large fossil discovered in Antarctica by Chilean researchers in 2011 has been found to be a giant, soft-shell egg from 66 million years ago.

Popular stories