Marine Protected Areas and Climate Change

By SalM on September 3, 2020 in Other News Articles

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims. MPAs support climate change adaptation and mitigation while providing other ecosystem services. Currently, 6.35% of the ocean is protected, but only just over 1.89% is covered by exclusively no-take MPAs. Most existing MPAs do not have enough human and financial resources to properly implement conservation and management measures. Increased political commitments can help boost the governance of and resources available to MPAs.

What is the issue?

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – areas of the ocean set aside for long-term conservation aims – are the only mainstream conservation-focused, area-based measure to increase the quality and extent of ocean protection. MPAs and their network offer nature-based solution to support global efforts towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.

MPAs – such as Cook Islands Marine Park and Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the US – currently cover about 6.35% of the ocean. However only just over 1.89% of that area is covered by exclusively no-take MPAs that do not allow any fishing, mining, drilling, or other extractive activities. This is far from the commitments of States made in relation to the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Aichi Target 11 of 10% MPA coverage by 2020, and even further from the recommendations made at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 that at least 30% no-take MPA coverage worldwide is needed.

Most existing MPAs do not have enough human and financial resources to properly implement conservation and management measures. Added to this critical situation is a spatial disparity: seven countries have established around 80% of the surface of the MPAs in the ocean. The high seas, covering over half the Earth, still lack a framework through which MPAs can be established.

Lack of strictly and permanently protected MPAs limits our ability to support climate change adaptation and mitigation. However, to reduce the overall climate change impacts on oceans, such as ocean warming, substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are still urgently needed.

Why is it important?

Establishing MPA networks is critical to maintaining climate change resilience and rebuilding ecological and social resilience. For example, MPAs that protect coastal habitats such as barrier islands, coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands reduce human vulnerability in the face of climate change and provide the natural infrastructure (e.g. storm protection) on which people rely.

Strictly protected MPA networks in coastal carbon habitats (mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes) can ensure that no new emissions arise from the loss and degradation of these areas. At the same time, they stimulate new carbon sequestration through the restoration of degraded coastal habitats.

MPAs, while not impervious to all climate change impacts, provide areas of reduced stress, improving the ability of marine organisms to adapt to climate change. Well-integrated MPA networks can increase species survival by allowing them to move around and escape certain pressures. In addition, MPAs, where stressors are controlled, can be used as sentinel (research) sites to help track the effects of climate change. This is consistent with the research and systematic observation obligations of countries under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and other international agreements.

What can be done?

Measures to address the current impacts of climate change on the ocean include significantly cutting emissions, upscaling proper protection for marine ecosystems to retain resistance, and rebuild resilience, as well as implementing sustainable practices for all industries and uses across the ocean.

Coastal states are well-positioned to make use of MPAs for ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation as a ‘no-regret’ climate change strategy. Processes such as Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) and Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can be used by countries to improve the management of MPAs and help meet multiple objectives, including sustainable development, biodiversity conservation as well as climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Adaptation strategies, including National Adaptation Plans and Programmes of Action, as well as mitigation efforts such as REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, provide opportunities to use MPAs as an implementation tool for ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation.

Climate finance mechanisms enable increased support for the implementation of marine and coastal ecosystem-based adaptation and mitigation. For example, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) offers an opportunity for developing countries to receive support for mitigation and adaptation efforts, with a focus on biodiversity conservation and protected area management.

Coastal ecosystem protection can benefit from the Poznan Strategic Program on Technology Transfer, implemented by the Global Environment Facility, and the work of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism.

Increased political commitments at different levels (national, regional and international) can help boost the governance of and resources available to MPA programmes. This can ensure that MPAs are effective and sufficient in number to fulfill their potential as a key tool for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Ahead lies the challenge to revise the global MPA strategy and emphasise the strong linkages between climate, sustainability and biodiversity efforts, through existing international regimes such as the UNFCCC and CBD. A new agenda for building a truly representative, consistent and resilient MPA network to face both climate change and the loss of biodiversity would be highly beneficial.


This article has been taken from the IUCN Website. Follow the link posted below to the original source

https://www.iucn.org/resources/issues-briefs/marine-protected-areas-and-climate-change

Clean Energy for All Europeans is a reality

By SalM on September 1, 2020 in Other News Articles

Accelerating the clean energy transition is a clear priority and a real opportunity that the EU is committed to. Indeed, given that energy is responsible for over 75% of greenhouse gas emissions in Europe, a transition to low-carbon energy solutions is essential for the EU to live up to its Paris Agreement commitments.

The benefits of the clean energy transition go beyond the decarbonisation objective. It is a clear socio-economic opportunity with tangible benefits for EU industries and all Europeans. The EU has already proven that decarbonisation and economic growth can go hand in hand. From 1990 to 2016, concerns about the adverse economic effects of increased regulation were shown to be demonstrably false as greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 22% while the economy grew by 54%. Impressive progress has also been made in the EU regarding energy efficiency and the deployment of renewables, putting the EU on track to achieve its 2020 targets.

The most competitive economies are those investing in future technologies and supporting innovation. Eco-innovation can help create new business opportunities, growth and jobs in Europe and its SME sector, in particular. Today, this sector represents more than 3.4 million jobs in the EU. The renewable energy sector also employs over 1 million people and generates an annual turnover of around €150bn. EU industries are in a good position to lead the way in wind energy, ocean energy, heat pumps and district heating technologies.

However, we should not be complacent as the renewable energy industry is experiencing increased international competition. In this context, the EU needs to accelerate its efforts and consolidate its position as a leader of the clean energy transition.

This is where the Clean Energy for All Europeans package comes into play. This initiative sets the most advanced regulatory framework to date, which is exactly what is needed to modernise our energy system, support clean energies and innovation, and stimulate a strong industrial basis in Europe. Of course, all this must be done while putting consumers at the heart of the energy transition.

The EU has been delivering on its commitments. Already, four of the package’s eight legislative proposals of have entered into force. The principle of ‘energy efficiency first’ has been translated into concrete legal provisions contributing to energy savings across all parts of the economy, including the building sectors. This is especially important, as the building sectors represent 40% of the EU’s energy consumption and 36% of its greenhouse gas emissions.

This package also allows for the accelerated deployment of renewable energies. It sets ambitious targets at the EU level for 2030 of at least 32.5% for energy efficiency and 32% for renewables. These targets go beyond what was initially proposed, thus reflecting recent technological developments, cost-reduction efforts and the importance of committed leadership in the fight against climate change. Both targets include the possibility of a further upward revision in 2023 and are accompanied by a strong governance system. This will ensure that these objectives are met while providing consistency and legal certainty for investors.

Provisional agreements were also reached last December on the new electricity market design, thus concluding the political negotiations on the Clean Energy for All Europeans package and marking a major step towards completing the Energy Union.

Thanks to these new rules, the electricity system will become more resilient and better adapted to the increasing share of renewables. It also puts consumers at the centre, allowing them to become active in the market by producing or selling their own energy. Moreover, market signals will be improved to stimulate investments. Overall, this will support the development of clean energy solutions in Europe in a cost-competitive way.

However, actions need to go beyond the regulatory framework to ensure that European industries stay at the forefront of the clean energy transition. This is why the Commission has launched the Clean Energy Industrial Forum to help EU industries take advantage of the growth opportunities arising from the clean energy transition. These efforts have focused on three key areas with important potential in terms of competitiveness, growth and jobs opportunities: renewable energies, batteries and construction. It looks in particular at trade policies but also the role of research and innovation to improve the EU industries’ competitiveness.

Research and innovation (R&I) are indeed key as the future of Europe’s industry will depend on its ability to continuously adapt. The most advanced construction technologies and materials can already be used to renovate Europe’s building stock. Processes accompanying the decarbonisation – such as digitalisation and decentralisation with smart grids or smart home appliances – are already increasingly empowering energy consumers. However, this trend will only increase in the future if innovative technologies can be further developed to ensure a strong industrial basis in support of the clean energy transition.

R&I is a clear priority and has strong synergies with the ambitious policy framework that the EU is putting in place. Horizon 2020 has been an important source of support for R&I investments into a low-carbon economy. Between 2014 and 2020, over €10bn will be devoted to clean energy R&I priorities outlined in Horizon 2020. The Commission has proposed to increase the budget for R&I in the upcoming 2021 to 2027 period to almost €100bn with Horizon Europe. It has also sought to increase the budget for R&I dedicated to energy, mobility and climate to around €15bn.

This will play a central role in improving the daily lives of European citizens. R&I can foster competitiveness, growth and jobs, along with access to better services suited to their needs and improvement of their comfort and living conditions. It also contributes to the democratisation of the energy system by empowering consumers and enabling them to become central actors of the clean energy transition. Other research areas such as social sciences can also support energy policy by addressing its social impacts. This is particularly important as the EU is fully committed to ensure that the clean energy transition is socially just to all Europeans.


This article was taken from the Shape Energy Website.

Article was written and prepared by Dominique Ristori, Director-General for Energy at the European Commission

Efficient Low-Cost System for Producing Power at Night

By SalM on August 30, 2020 in Other News Articles

Rooftop radiative cooling system could provide lighting power when solar energy is unavailable.

Researchers have designed an off-grid, low-cost modular energy source that can efficiently produce power at night. The system uses commercially available technology and could eventually help meet the need for nighttime lighting in urban areas or provide lighting in developing countries.

Although solar power brings many benefits, its use depends heavily on the distribution of sunlight, which can be limited in many locations and is completely unavailable at night. Systems that store energy produced during the day are typically expensive, thus driving up the cost of using solar power.

To find a less-expensive alternative, researchers led by Shanhui Fan from Stanford University looked to radiative cooling. This approach uses the temperature difference resulting from heat absorbed from the surrounding air and the radiant cooling effect of cold space to generate electricity.

In The Optical Society (OSA) journal Optics Express, the researchers theoretically demonstrate an optimized radiative cooling approach that can generate 2.2 Watts per square meter with a rooftop device that doesn’t require a battery or any external energy. This is about 120 times the amount of energy that has been experimentally demonstrated and enough to power modular sensors such as ones used in security or environmental applications.

“We are working to develop high-performance, sustainable lighting generation that can provide everyone – including those in developing and rural areas – access to reliable and sustainable low cost lighting energy sources,” said Lingling Fan, first author of the paper. “A modular energy source could also power off-grid sensors used in a variety of applications and be used to convert waste heat from automobiles into usable power.”

Maximizing power generation

One of the most efficient ways to generate electricity using radiative cooling is to use a thermoelectric power generator. These devices use thermoelectric materials to generate power by converting the temperature differences between a heat source and the device’s cool side, or radiative cooler, into an electric voltage.

In the new work, the researchers optimized each step of thermoelectric power generation to maximize nighttime power generation from a device that would be used on a rooftop. They improved the energy harvesting so that more heat flows into the system from the surrounding air and incorporate new commercially available thermoelectric materials that enhance how well that energy is used by the device. They also calculated that a thermoelectric power generator covering one square meter of a rooftop could achieve the best trade-off between heat loss and thermoelectric conversion.

“One of the most important innovations was designing a selective emitter that is attached to the cool side of the device,” said Wei Li, a member of the research team. “This optimizes the radiative cooling process so that the power generator can more efficiently get rid of excessive heat.”

The researchers demonstrated the new approach by using computer modeling to simulate a system with realistic physical parameters. The models reproduced previous experimental results faithfully and revealed that the optimized system designed by the researchers could come close to what has been calculated as the maximum efficiency using thermoelectric conversion.

In addition to carrying out experiments, the researchers are also examining optimal designs for operating the system during the day, in addition to nighttime, which could expand the practical applications of the system.


Reference: “Maximal nighttime electrical power generation via optimal radiative cooling” by Lingling Fan, Wei Li, Weiliang Jin, Meir Orenstein and Shanhui Fan, 13 August 2020, Optics Express.
DOI: 10.1364/OE.397714

This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG02-07ER46426.

This article is taken from the webpage SciTechDaily.

European Deal Call to mobilise research and innovation

By SalM on August 27, 2020 in Other News Articles

Projects are expected to deliver tangible and visible results relatively quickly and show how research and innovation can provide concrete solutions for the Green Deal main priorities.

The call will support:

  • pilot applications, demonstration projects and innovative products
  • innovation for better governance of the green and digital transition
  • social and value chain innovation

In addition to technological development and demonstration, the call encourages experimentation and social innovation for new ways to engage civil society and empower citizens.

In relation to the current pandemic, the call will contribute to the green and digital recovery and to increasing societal resilience for example in agriculture, biodiversity acceleration of renewables, clean transport and modernisation towards a clean and circular industry.

How is the call structured?

The call contains 11 areas

Eight thematic areas reflecting the key work streams of the European Green Deal. In each area, one or more topics addresses the challenges outlined in the respective stream. Topics target specific, high-impact technological and societal innovations that can help advance the sustainable transition relatively quickly.

Three horizontal areas (strengthening knowledge; empowering citizens; and international cooperation) that cut across the eight thematic areas and offer a longer-term perspective in achieving the transformations set out in the European Green Deal.

For more details, click here.

Targeted Consultation on International Ocean Governance

By SalM on August 27, 2020 in Other News Articles

Background

The International Ocean Governance Agenda (JOIN(2016) 49 final) has contributed to a concerted and targeted approach to improve the governance framework, to protect the oceans, strengthen international ocean science and develop a sustainable blue economy worldwide. Despite good progress by the EU and the global community to improve ocean governance as presented in the progress report on the delivery of the agenda (JOIN(2019) 4), further action is necessary to ensure oceans are healthy, clean, safe, secure and sustainably used.

Objectives

The targeted stakeholder consultation aims to assess the need and how to develop the EU International Ocean Governance Agenda. In particular, the consultation aims to identify opportunities for targeted action in light of today’s challenges in international ocean governance to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and in particular the sustainable development goal on the ocean (SDG14) in support of the objectives of the European Green Deal

Concretely, the objectives of the consultation are to:

  • re-examine the EU’s role in international ocean governance;
  • re-examine the three priorities of the current Agenda, its goals and the actions thereunder (JOIN(2016) 49 final); and
  • identify new policy areas or actions to tackle existing and emerging challenges

Scope

The targeted consultation seeks contributions from relevant stakeholders including Member States, third countries, international organisations, NGOs, financial institutions, academic, scientific, social and economic partners

The consultation consists of 5 sections:

  1. Personal information
  2. Scope and objectives of the International Ocean Governance Agenda
  3. Strengthening the International Ocean Governance framework
  4. Reducing pressure on the ocean and seas and creating the conditions for a sustainable blue economy
  5. Strengthening international ocean science: research, data and knowledge systems

After the first two sections, you can submit your answers or choose to answer one of the three thematic sections in addition. You can also choose to answer all sections. Each section consists of 5-10 questions.


Follow the link to the EU Survey webpage and take the survey on the International Ocean Governance

Diamond Offshore Wind, RWE Renewables, University of Maine

By SalM on August 20, 2020 in Other News Articles

Orono, Maine — The University of Maine will collaborate with New England Aqua Ventus, LLC (NEAV), a joint venture between Diamond Offshore Wind, a subsidiary of the Mitsubishi Corporation, and RWE Renewables, the second-largest company in offshore wind globally, to develop UMaine’s floating offshore wind technology demonstration project off the coast of Maine.

As the developer, NEAV will own and manage all aspects of permitting, construction and assembly, deployment and ongoing operations for the project. UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center will continue with design and engineering, research and development and post-construction monitoring.

The project will consist of a single semisubmersible concrete floating platform that will support a commercial 10-12 megawatt wind turbine and will be deployed in a state-designated area 2 miles south of Monhegan Island and 14 miles from the Maine coast. The purpose of the demonstration project is to further evaluate the floating technology, monitor environmental factors and develop best practices for offshore wind to coexist with traditional marine activities. It will supply clean, renewable electricity to the Maine grid.

Construction, following all permitting, is expected to be completed in 2023.

Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden issued a joint statement on the partnership announcement: “For generations, Maine has been a national leader when it comes to using our natural resources sustainably to create jobs, protect our environment and power our economy. The University of Maine’s floating deepwater offshore wind project carries on that tradition. We have strongly supported UMaine’s development of the Aqua Ventus project. We are proud to see the project’s progress and applaud the $100 million public-private partnership launched today, which will accelerate UMaine’s development of its innovative technology and create jobs. Maine’s offshore wind resource potential is 36 times greater than the state’s electricity demand, making this project so significant for Maine’s clean energy future.”

An immediate priority for the new development team is to engage with the fishing industry, other maritime users, coastal communities and other interested parties on how to ensure this new renewable energy source can optimally provide economic growth to Maine and work with maritime industries.

Since 2008, the University of Maine has researched floating offshore wind technology as a solution to Maine’s overdependence on imported fossil fuels. After winning funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the university worked with Maine-based construction firm Cianbro to build and deploy the first grid-connected offshore wind turbine in the U.S. in 2013, a one-eighth scale prototype of its VolturnUS floating hull technology. The success of the project led to additional funding from the DOE to further advance the VolturnUS technology, which has been issued 43 patents to date. The university and Cianbro sought to partner with a world-class offshore wind developer to further demonstrate this technology on a commercial scale. UMaine will continue to own its VolturnUS floating hull intellectual property and license it to NEAV for this project.

“Diamond Offshore Wind and RWE Renewables bring global expertise in offshore wind project development and construction and we look forward to working with them to demonstrate UMaine’s floating hull technology in Maine waters,” says Habib Dagher, executive director of UMaine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center, where the VolturnUS hull technology was invented. “Our design is ideally suited for deepwater deployment anywhere and has the potential to play a significant role in global efforts to decrease dependence on fossil fuels.”

Diamond Offshore Wind and RWE Renewables, with years of collective offshore energy experience and success, will invest $100 million to build the project and help demonstrate the technology at full scale. Combined, the two new partners are responsible for nearly a quarter of the world’s offshore wind capacity.

“We are pleased to see the University of Maine continuing to make progress and that new private sector partners recognize the great potential of this project,” said Daniel Simmons, assistant secretary of energy efficiency and renewable energy for the U.S. Department of Energy. “This complements the investment of research, development and demonstration funding from DOE to advance innovation in a floating design for offshore wind.”

Under the Mills administration and with a long history of bipartisan support, Maine has moved boldly ahead on renewable energy and offshore wind development, including enacting legislation authorizing approval by the Maine Public Utilities Commission of the power purchase contract for Aqua Ventus, and initiating a study of the port at Searsport as a potential site to support and develop offshore wind. The governor also accepted the invitation for Maine to join the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Gulf of Maine Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force, along with New Hampshire and Massachusetts, which is charged with facilitating coordination related to renewable energy activities in federal waters in the Gulf of Maine.

“The strength of Maine’s economy, the preservation of our natural resources, the long-term health and well-being of our communities and of future generations depend in great part on our transitioning to clean energy and tackling the threat of climate change,” said Gov. Janet Mills. “This new public-private partnership joins world-class offshore wind developers and the University of Maine, and puts us on track to be home to the nation’s first floating offshore wind project, reflecting the major economic growth opportunity of the clean energy economy. I am pleased this project is moving forward, and encouraged by the partners’ strong commitment to work collaboratively with Maine fishermen to protect and support our traditional industries as we chart a greener future for our state.”

“This is a significant milestone for the University of Maine, the offshore wind research team and the state of Maine,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “As Maine’s research university, UMaine is continually advancing its broad land grant, sea and space grant mission. The path from fundamental research to economic realization is complex, and success takes incredible innovation, persistence and strategic partnerships. Many faculty, staff and students have participated in the development of this technology, and will continue to support the energy and marine economy as this project transitions to the private sector. This collaboration exemplifies our role and commitment to creating and supporting the future of Maine.”

NEAV will continue to involve Maine companies in permitting, construction and assembly, deployment, and ongoing operations and maintenance of the project. In addition, NEAV has committed to working with the University of Maine on research, development and design to take the technology elsewhere in the U.S. and the world. The concrete hulls are designed to be built in communities adjacent to potential projects, generating local construction jobs and other benefits during the building and assembly phase.

The project is projected to produce more than $150 million in total economic output and create hundreds of Maine-based jobs during the construction period.

“Cianbro has been a founding member of the Aqua Ventus team for over ten years and we remain deeply supportive and committed to the development of offshore wind in Maine,” says Pete Vigue, chairman of The Cianbro Companies. “We look forward to working with the NEAV team and all related stakeholders to complete the initial demonstration unit.”

The developers also will work with the University of Maine System, the Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy to attract K–12 students to science, engineering and business programs, prepare college students and help to create a skilled workforce in Maine with the technical skills necessary to support offshore wind development and operation.

“We are pleased to partner with the university to bring its ideas for floating offshore wind to fruition,” says Chris Wissemann of Diamond Offshore Wind. “This project south of Monhegan is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate a new technology that can be built in Maine, create jobs in Maine, and demonstrate how fishing and offshore wind can co-exist. Together with RWE, our engineers conducted an extensive due-diligence review of UMaine’s VolturnUS floating wind technology, and believe it is a world leader in floating wind that reduces costs and creates local jobs. We are really focused on creating economic opportunities for Maine as this new carbon-free economy emerges.”

“We see great potential for floating wind farms worldwide, especially in countries like the U.S., with deeper coastal waters,” says Sven Utermöhlen, chief operating officer, Wind Offshore Global of RWE Renewables. “This innovative project combines the University of Maine’s knowledge with the state’s maritime heritage, allowing RWE Renewables to gain the experience that can help us provide future opportunities to grow local economies and produce clean, renewable power.”


This article was taken from The Maine University webpage. Follow the link to the Webpage of Maine University to read the full article.

Multi-Use Platforms

By SalM on August 19, 2020 in Other News Articles

PSP Technology

The Pneumatically Stabilized Platform (PSP) system permits the design and construction of very large-floating platforms of unlimited size. PSPs may be deployed in regions with extreme wave heights and achieve more stability then achieved by any other known technology. Since a PSP is also a breakwater, it will allow the docking of vessels on the down wave sides which permits the safe transfer of materiel and people to and from the platform. The PSP is a patented design concept for large floating platforms, in which the flotation force is derived from an array of open-bottom cylinders tapping pressurized air that displaces the water.

Wave and Wind Renewable

The PSP forms an essential offshore floating support base for the Rho-Cee WEC and can simultaneously provide a stable supporting platform for and ready maintenance access to, both large offshore Wind Turbines and submerged Ocean Current Turbines.

Offshore Floating Ocean Energy System

Offshore wind and wave power can be remarkably complimentary. Given an extended, stable floating platform to share, important economies of renewable power production and energy storage are possible. Structural stability allows any standard Offshore Wind Turbine to be deployed easily:

  • Wind Turbine foundations same as onshore.
  • Access, maintenance and operation similar to onshore.
  • Transformer station in-the-dry.
  • Storage of spare and repair parts.
  • No new specialized vessels needed to transport equipment or personnel directly from ports to platform.

The Pneumatically Stabilized Platform (PSP) embodies such a platform. Developed with Defense Advanced Research Project Agency support and proved in model scale, the PSP will achieve its at-sea motion stability and structural loads mitigation by decoupling the “hull” from ocean wave pressures through the partial use of air buoyancy.

In addition to supporting an array of Wind Turbines, the PSP deploys along its seaward edge the “Rho-Cee” WEC, termed the “Impedance-Matched Terminator”, comprising a nested set of tuned OWC absorbers, resonant across a selected frequency band. By means of impedance matching, highly efficient wave energy absorption is demonstrably achieved.

The PSP and Rho-Cee WEC are constructed modularly, of pre-stressed reinforced concrete, which is degradation-free in long term exposure to sea water – and only concrete touches sea water in the platform system.
All equipment subject to maintenance, replacement or inspection is “in-the-dry”– fully accessible to platform-resident personnel on foot, dry-shod. With integral foundations, WTs deployed upon such a floating platform can be positioned offshore in the greater water depths favorable to the WECs thusly avoiding bottom losses of wave activity.

Floating Airport

FloatPort, the defining PSP concept of Float Incorporated, was first introduced in 1993. This transportation hub provides an international airport as well as a terminal for commuter and maritime traffic. The Pneumatically Stabilized Platform was originally designed as a means for constructing a new airport for San Diego in the Pacific Ocean, 3 miles off the tip of Point Loma. Known as “FloatPort”, it would make San Diego the only deep water shipping port on the west coast and provide the world with its first land, air and sea inter modal transport center. Connected by a tunnel to the western terminus of Interstate 8, one of the city’s main collector freeways, FloatPort would be as convenient as San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is now.

Security Port

In May 2002, Float Inc. proposed a port security strategy titled “Beyond the Horizon” and published a white paper which was distributed to most of the agencies that are involved in homeland security. Although the Department of Homeland Security was not yet established, the idea received much favorable response.

LNG Terminal

Float Inc. has suggested the following uses of the PSP which could provide them with capabilities that would substantially reduce costs. PSP technology would enable LNG producers to combine processing, treating, storing, and liquefaction of natural gas, as well as its loading onto LNG tankers, on one floating PSP facility. This should not only reduce the cost of servicing near shore gas fields, but enable the development of gas fields farther from shore or in deeper water. Oil producers could build a refinery on a PSP. Refined products could be shipped directly from the platform and the need to ship crude oil would be eliminated. In both cases, when a field plays out, the assets are recoverable. Float is actively seeking working relationships with oil and gas development projects or engineering companies that are interested in these cost savings.


This article was taken from the Float Europe website. Click on the link to visit their website.

Protecting and Restoring Nature in the European Union

By SalM on August 18, 2020 in Other News Articles

The EU has legal frameworks, strategies and action plans to protect nature and restore habitats and species. But protection has been incomplete, restoration has been smallscale, and the implementation and enforcement of legislation has been insufficient.

To put biodiversity on the path to recovery by 2030, we need to step up the protection and restoration of nature. This should be done by improving and widening our network of protected areas and by developing an ambitious EU Nature Restoration Plan.

A coherent network of protected areas

Biodiversity fares better in protected areas. However, the current network of legally protected areas, including those under strict protection, is not sufficiently large to safeguard biodiversity. Evidence shows that the targets defined under the Convention on Biological Diversity are insufficient to adequately protect and restore nature. Global efforts are needed and the EU itself needs to do more and better for nature and build a truly coherent Trans-European Nature Network.

Enlarging protected areas is also an economic imperative. Studies on marine systems estimate that every euro invested in marine protected areas would generate a return of at least €319. Similarly, the Nature Fitness Check20 showed that the benefits of Natura 2000 are valued at between €200-300 billion per year. The investment needs of the network are expected to support as many as 500,000 additional jobs.

For the good of our environment and our economy, and to support the EU’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, we need to protect more nature. In this spirit, at least 30% of the land and 30% of the sea should be protected in the EU. This is a minimum of an extra 4% for land and 19% for sea areas as compared to today22. The target is fully in line with what is being proposed as part of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Within this, there should be specific focus on areas of very high biodiversity value or potential. These are the most vulnerable to climate change and should be granted special care in the form of strict protection. Today, only 3% of land and less than 1% of marine areas are strictly protected in the EU. We need to do better to protect these areas. In this spirit, at least one third of protected areas – representing 10% of EU land and 10% of EU sea – should be strictly protected. This is also in line with the proposed global ambition.

As part of this focus on strict protection, it will be crucial to define, map, monitor and strictly protect all the EU’s remaining primary and old-growth forests. It will also be important to advocate for the same globally and ensure that EU actions do not result in deforestation in other regions of the world. Primary and old-growth forests are the richest forest ecosystems that remove carbon from the atmosphere, while storing significant carbon stocks. Significant areas of other carbon-rich ecosystems, such as peatlands, grasslands, wetlands, mangroves and seagrass meadows should also be strictly protected, taking into account projected shifts in vegetation zones.

Member States will be responsible for designating the additional protected and strictly protected areas. Designations should either help to complete the Natura 2000 network or be under national protection schemes. All protected areas will need to have clearly defined conservation objectives and measures. The Commission, working with Member States and the European Environment Agency, will put forward in 2020 criteria and guidance for identifying and designating additional areas, including a definition of strict protection, as well as for appropriate management planning. In doing so, it will indicate how other effective area-based conservation measures and greening of cities could contribute to the targets.

The targets relate to the EU as a whole and could be broken down according to the EU bio-geographical regions and sea basins or at a more local level. Every Member State will have to do its fair share of the effort based on objective ecological criteria, recognising that each country has a different quantity and quality of biodiversity. Particular focus will be placed on protecting and restoring the tropical and sub-tropical marine and terrestrial ecosystems in the EU’s outermost regions given their exceptionally high biodiversity value.

In addition, in order to have a truly coherent and resilient Trans-European Nature Network, it will be important to set up ecological corridors to prevent genetic isolation, allow for species migration, and maintain and enhance healthy ecosystems. In this context, investments in green and blue infrastructure and cooperation across borders among Member States should be promoted and supported, including through the European Territorial Cooperation.

The Commission will aim to agree the criteria and guidance for additional designations with Member States by the end of 2021. Member States will then have until the end of 2023 to demonstrate significant progress in legally designating new protected areas and integrating ecological corridors. On this basis, the Commission will assess by 2024 whether the EU is on track to meet its 2030 targets or whether stronger actions, including EU legislation, are needed.

Finally, the Overseas Countries and Territories also host important biodiversity hotspots, not governed by EU environmental rules. The Commission encourages relevant Member States to consider promoting equal or equivalent rules in these countries and territories.

Nature protection: key commitments by 2030:

  1. Legally protect a minimum of 30% of the EU’s land area and 30% of the EU’s sea area and integrate ecological corridors, as part of a true Trans-European Nature Network.
  2. Strictly protect at least a third of the EU’s protected areas, including all remaining EU primary and old-growth forests.
  3. Effectively manage all protected areas, defining clear conservation objectives and measures, and monitoring them appropriately

For the full report on EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 follow the link to the European Comission page.

Why do we need to protect biodiversity?

By SalM on August 13, 2020 in Other News Articles

BIODIVERSITY – THE NEED FOR URGENT ACTION

From the world’s great rainforests to small parks and gardens, from the blue whale to microscopic fungi, biodiversity is the extraordinary variety of life on Earth. We humans are part of, and fully dependent on, this web of life: it gives us the food we eat, filters the water we drink, and supplies the air we breathe. Nature is as important for our mental and physical wellbeing as it is for our society’s ability to cope with global change, health threats and disasters. We need nature in our lives.

Healthy and resilient societies depend on giving nature the space it needs. The recent COVID-19 pandemic makes the need to protect and restore nature all the more urgent. The pandemic is raising awareness of the links between our own health and the health of ecosystems. It is demonstrating the need for sustainable supply chains and consumption patterns that do not exceed planetary boundaries. This reflects the fact that the risk of emergence and spread of infectious diseases increases as nature is destroyed. Protecting and restoring biodiversity and well-functioning ecosystems is therefore key to boost our resilience and prevent the emergence and spread of future diseases.

Investing in nature protection and restoration will also be critical for Europe’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. When restarting the economy, it is crucial to avoid falling back and locking ourselves into damaging old habits. The European Green Deal – the EU’s growth strategy – will be the compass for our recovery, ensuring that the economy serves people and society and gives back to nature more than it takes away. The business case for biodiversity is compelling. Industry and companies rely on genes, species, and ecosystem services as critical inputs for production, notably for medicines. Over half of global GDP depends on nature and the services it provides, with three key economic sectors – construction, agriculture, and food and drink – all highly dependent on it.

Biodiversity conservation has potential direct economic benefits for many sectors of the economy. For example, conserving marine stocks could increase annual profits of the seafood industry by more than €49 billion, while protecting coastal wetlands could save the insurance industry around €50 billion annually through reducing flood damage losses. The overall benefit/cost ratio of an effective global programme for the conservation of remaining wild nature worldwide is estimated to be at least 100 to 14. Natural capital investment, including restoration of carbon-rich habitats and climate friendly agriculture, is recognize to be among the five most important fiscal recovery policies, which offer high economic multipliers and positive climate impact. It will be important for the EU to tap into this potential to ensure prosperity, sustainability and resilience in the recovery.

Biodiversity is also crucial for safeguarding EU and global food security. Biodiversity loss threatens our food systems, putting our food security and nutrition at risk. Biodiversity also underpins healthy and nutritious diets and improves rural livelihoods and agricultural productivity. For instance, more than 75% of global food crop types rely on animal pollination.

Despite this urgent moral, economic and environmental imperative, nature is in a state of crisis. The five main direct drivers of biodiversity loss– changes in land and sea use, over-exploitation, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species – are making nature disappear quickly. We see the changes in our everyday lives: concrete blocks rising up on green spaces, wilderness disappearing in front of our eyes, and more species being put at risk of extinction than at any point in human history. In the last four decades, global wildlife populations fell by 60% as a result of human activities. And almost three quarters of the Earth’s surface have been altered, squeezing nature into an ever-smaller corner of the planet.

The biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis are intrinsically linked. Climate change accelerates the destruction of the natural world through droughts, flooding and wildfires, while the loss and unsustainable use of nature are in turn key drivers of climate change. But just as the crises are linked, so are the solutions. Nature is a vital ally in the fight against climate change. Nature regulates the climate, and nature-based solutions, such as protecting and restoring wetlands, peatlands and coastal ecosystems, or sustainably managing marine areas, forests, grasslands and agricultural soils, will be essential for emission reduction and climate adaptation. Planting trees and deploying green infrastructure will help us to cool urban areas and mitigate the impact of natural disasters.

Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse are one of the biggest threats facing humanity in the next decade. They also threaten the foundations of our economy and the costs of inaction are high and are anticipated to increase. The world lost an estimated €3.5-18.5 trillion per year in ecosystem services from 1997 to 2011 owing to land-cover change, and an estimated €5.5-10.5 trillion per year from land degradation. Specifically, biodiversity loss results in reduced crop yields and fish catches, increased economic losses from flooding and other disasters, and the loss of potential new sources of medicine.

The EU is ready to show ambition to reverse biodiversity loss, lead the world by example and by action, and help agree and adopt a transformative post-2020 global framework at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. This should build on the headline ambition to ensure that by 2050 all of the world’s ecosystems are restored, resilient, and adequately protected. The world should commit to the net-gain principle to give nature back more than it takes. As part of this, the world should commit to no human-induced extinction of species, at minimum where avoidable.

This strategy sets out how Europe can help make this happen. As a milestone, it aims to ensure that Europe’s biodiversity will be on the path to recovery by 2030 for the benefit of people, the planet, the climate and our economy, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and with the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. It addresses the five main drivers of biodiversity loss, sets out an enhanced governance framework to fill remaining gaps, ensures the full implementation of EU legislation, and pulls together all existing efforts. This strategy is enterprising and incentivising in spirit and action. It reflects the fact that protecting and restoring nature will need more than regulation alone. It will require action by citizens, businesses, social partners and the research and knowledge community, as well as strong partnerships between local, regional, national and European level. This strategy is in line with the ambitions and commitment set out in President von der Leyen’s Political Guidelines and in the European Green Deal.

Adopted in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, this strategy will also be a central element of the EU’s recovery plan. It will be crucial to prevent and build resilience to future zoonosis outbreaks and to provide immediate business and investment opportunities for restoring the EU’s economy.

All new initiatives and proposals will be underpinned by the Commission’s better regulation tools. Based on public consultations and on the identification of the environmental, social and economic impacts, impact assessments will contribute to ensuring that all initiatives achieve their objectives in the most effective and least burdensome way and live up to a green oath to “do no harm”.


For the full report follow the link to the European Comission page.

A European Green Deal

By SalM on August 12, 2020 in Other News Articles

The overall aim of the MUSICA project is to provide a decarbonising one-stop shop for small islands, which will include their marine initiatives (Blue Growth) and their obligations towards their ecosystems. This will be achieved with the MUSICA smart and replicable Multi-Use Platform (MUP) and Multi-use of Space (MUS), which will provide a full suite of sustainable solutions for a small island. Progress, innovations and outcomes delivered through the collaborative Project will command a high profile within the Blue Growth and MRE sectors, in alignment with The Green Deal initiative by the European Commission

About European Green Deal

Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to Europe and the world. To overcome these challenges, Europe needs a new growth strategy that will transform the Union into a modern, resource-efficient and competitive economy, where

  • there are no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050
  • economic growth is decoupled from resource use
  • no person and no place is left behind

The European Green Deal is our plan to make the EU’s economy sustainable. It can only be done by turning climate and environmental challenges into opportunities, and making the transition just and inclusive for all.

Actions

The European Green Deal provides an action plan to

  • boost the efficient use of resources by moving to a clean, circular economy
  • restore biodiversity and cut pollution

The plan outlines investments needed and financing tools available. It explains how to ensure a just and inclusive transition.

The EU aims to be climate neutral in 2050. We proposed a European Climate Law to turn this political commitment into a legal obligation.

Reaching this target will require action by all sectors of our economy, including

  • investing in environmentally-friendly technologies
  • supporting industry to innovate
  • rolling out cleaner, cheaper and healthier forms of private and public transport
  • decarbonising the energy sector
  • ensuring buildings are more energy efficient
  • working with international partners to improve global environmental standards

The EU will also provide financial support and technical assistance to help those that are most affected by the move towards the green economy. This is called the Just Transition Mechanism. It will help mobilise at least €100 billion over the period 2021-2027 in the most affected regions.


Watch a short video in which the European Green Deal is explained and follow the link to the Official European Green New Deal page to get more informations.