«Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Working Paper NI WP 14-01 February 2014 Working toward a More Valuable Ocean: Concepts and ...»
The U.S. State Department’s Oceans Conference will offer an overview of the status of ocean acidification, highlight affected industries such as shellfish farming, and address new and emerging tools for monitoring this debilitating trend affecting many critical regions of our oceans. This conference represents an important opportunity for international stakeholders to consider further research and cooperative actions to understand and address the pressing acidification issue facing the world’s oceans.
It is only through innovation and collaboration that all stakeholders can address these challenges. With that in mind, I should also mention that we are exploring areas for public-private partnerships as possible ways forward related to some of these themes.
A VIEW FROM THE U.S. NAVY’S CHIEF OCEANOGRAPHER RADM Jonathan White The U.S. Navy relies on superior knowledge of the oceans and atmosphere around the world to maintain a war-fighting advantage against any potential adversary in any maritime environment. This knowledge, including the ability to accurately predict dynamic changes on short- and long-term timescales enables us to operate safely and plan effectively. The long-term physical alterations to the world’s oceans due to climate change represent significant risk to coastal infrastructure and oceanic ecosystems, and they will undoubtedly influence local, regional, and global economies.
This risk will drive our future Navy’s infrastructure planning and will likely induce security concerns in oceanic nations, including ones that are already considered as “high-risk for conflict” due to existent geopolitical and economic instability. The ability to accurately plan for the impacts of changing oceanographic conditions, to include sea-level and chemical composition, will enable the U.S. military (and our allies) to better prepare and respond to future threats and crises.
Our changing climate and global ocean can legitimately be characterized as a “Revolution in Human Affairs.” Such revolutions are not new, but are usually recognized only in retrospect. From Noah’s Ark to the Industrial Revolution to the Information Age, the human race has experienced numerous events or innovations that have revolutionized the course of history. Ongoing climate change portends just such a revolution, as the world that we know today will be quite different by the end of this century. The
economic impacts of this change will be numerous:
An Arctic Ocean that is open for extensive summer and fall periods for transit; resource • exploitation, fishery expansion, tourism, etc.
Coastline reconfiguration and resulting loss of infrastructure, displaced populations, changes to • fish habitats (as well as other oceanic food sources) Increased catastrophic weather events, including more frequent and more dispersed droughts and • floods.
Damages to oceanic and estuary ecosystems by ocean acidification (caused largely by absorption • of anthropogenic carbon) – representing extensive modifications to food sources.
The developed nations of our world have the opportunity to prepare for these changes, and to prevent or minimize the extent of geo-political and economic upheaval. We must realize that even with dramatic changes to industrial activity to mitigate the ongoing climate changes, the changes that will occur over the next century are largely unstoppable as the momentum of processes in place is too great to reverse for many decades. Thus we must adapt and evolve as a global society. As Charles Darwin is often paraphrased: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”1 The road to success can be characterized by five “Ps”—Partnership, Prediction, Publicity, Preparedness, and Prevention.
Partnership: Whether along traditional organizations such as the United Nations, G8, G20, etc., or through the establishment of global and regional “coalitions of the willing,” individuals must commit to work together across international, intergovernmental, and public-private boundaries in all facets of this matter. Outside of wartime, this has never been done effectively. Leadership is the most important, and likely the most difficult part of these partnerships to determine.
Prediction: The partners must generate the most accurate and highest resolution (spatially and temporally) predictions on specifically what changes to our oceans are anticipated and where, and all must agree to use these predictions for planning.
Publicity: Effective marketing is key to bringing the world together; publicity is the only means by which effective partnerships will be generated in advance of crises.
Preparedness: Partners must cooperatively invest scarce resources to ensure the highest risk nations and regions are prepared for anticipated changes to the greatest extent feasible. This should include the establishment of legitimate metrics for humanitarian assistance efforts toward this end.
Prevention: The above steps, which are incredibly complex and difficult, can enable us to move from a disaster response mindset to a disaster prevention mindset – the key measure of success in the long run, and perhaps survival.
The U.S. Navy, as a partner and leader in the global ocean community, should be considered as a major partner in these efforts. Our considerable investment in research and operational prediction of ocean conditions is unparalleled. As a Global Force for Good, we stand ready and willing to participate.
ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES IN OCEANS AND WATERS DEMAND INNOVATIONS Catarina Hedar, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management Coastal regions are tremendously important for Europe’s economy—and for Sweden’s economy.
Approximately 40% of the EU’s population lives within 50 km of the sea. Almost 40% of EU gross domestic product (GDP) is generated in these maritime regions, and a staggering 75% of the volume of the EU’s foreign trade is conducted by sea. However, this important role played by our coasts has come at L. Megginson. “Lessons from Europe for American Business,” Southwestern Social Science Quarterly (1963) 44(1): 3–13, at p.
4, noted by Nick Matzke.
a cost to the environment, as a European Environmental Agency report, Balancing the Future of Europe’s Coasts, makes clear.
We all know that the ecological health of the Baltic Sea is in a critical state due to eutrophication, hazardous substances, and overfishing, but the region is well positioned to find solutions.
The objective of the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, SwAM, is to turn problems into opportunities, and to look at the sea as a sustainable resource. To achieve results and reach goals in our environmental efforts, it is essential that innovation and collaboration across borders occur. The agency´s mandate is broad and diverse, one of its core tasks is to regulate fishing and develop guidelines for how marine environments and streams may be used, for example in the case of wind and water power.
We also play an important role in the continuous development of blue growth, and within the field of social and environmental economics, concentrating on the sea, waters, and coast.
One possibility for obtaining a balance between human impact and maintaining or improving marine and aquatic environments is for environmental technology solutions to be developed and applied to specific uses.
One of our reports—Create a Better Water Environment While Making Money: Is That Possible?—asks if creating a better water environment is both profitable and possible. For the report, SwAM conducted a series of interviews in which that question was posed. And the answer is: yes, it’s profitable and possible.
More than half of the companies interviewed for the report said that they would be more profitable if we, the governmental agencies, demanded higher environmental standards and stronger regulations. By doing so, we could possibly help open a market for sustainability.
Two companies that represent the shift toward profitable environmentalism include Waves4power and Tech Market. Waves4power creates energy from the waves. Tech Market focuses on phosphorus recovery and the removal of hazardous substances from bottom sediments.
There are also other interesting concepts, for example, oxygenation of the dead seabed. There is a large area in the Baltic Sea, the size of Denmark, which is dead. Boxwin is a project constructing a prototype to deal with this problem. The concept involves a floating wind turbine that drives a pump that brings oxygen-rich surface water to the lower layers of water to hopefully bring new life into the seabed again.
Another problem that has yet to be solved is the overfishing in the Baltic Sea. Solutions for this include selective fishing gear that distinguishes species and size of fish.
Harvesting algae for biofuel or even as food is a concept encouraged by SwAM. Tests for algae production are taking place in the south of Sweden.
We also need alternative solutions to current anti-fouling paints. Imagine a solution where you can get an alert via text message when the barnacles begin to accumulate on a vessel’s hull, making it time to scrub the boat. You could take care of your boat in an environmentally friendly manner and reduce the use of antifouling paints.
Another interesting concept supported by SwAM is the Clean Shipping Index (CSI), a business-tobusiness tool for cargo owners to select clean ships and quality ship operators. Transport buyers use it to calculate and minimize their environmental footprint. Ship owners present the environmental profile of their fleets to a network of large customers who then consider the profiles in procurement situations. The aim is a market demand for clean ships. CSI is driven by a non-profit organization.
Pilot studies are important to innovation. We have to get new systems in place and have them tested onsite. There is good research out there that’s yet to be tested, and we need to create the appropriate prerequisites to see it through.
The role of an agency like SwAM is to help the invisible hand move the market in the right direction.
SwAM supports innovation to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society.
Although the environment in the Baltic Sea is under intense pressure, the conditions to tackle the challenges are better here than in many other places.
INNOVATION FOR SUSTAINABLE SHIPPING Claes Berglund, Director of Public Affairs and Sustainability, Stena AB All through history and the development of mankind, shipping has played a central role. It is one of the oldest businesses in the world. Meanwhile, the oceans unite people and enable trade—it is a fantastic resource.
Shipping is an important enabler of world trade and thereby the increased distribution of wealth. Shipping has employees from all over the world and is truly a global business that most of us are proud to be a part of. It is also the safest and the most environmentally friendly mode of transport.
Stena is a diversified family-owned business based in Sweden. Today, Stena is involved in offshore drilling, property, finance, technical and environmental services, and shipping. Innovation, care, and performance are our key values and are part of our success.
The shipping industry operates some 80,000 ships. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is the governing body over this industry. States and the industry itself work side by side to improve shipping as a whole, especially when it comes to safety and environment. The soon-to-arrive Ballast Water Convention, which identified a problem with invasive species and was addressed by the IMO, is a good example of this drive. It is also worth noting that the shipping industry is the only industry with a global regulation for carbon dioxide emissions. It regulates what type of ships we are allowed to build and requires that all ships have an energy efficiency plan.
The rise in oil prices has made investments in energy efficiency a paramount activity. Fuel saving is thus on the top of the agenda of every shipping company today. The focus here is on technical improvements such as hull shape, propeller blades, and on operational changes including slow steaming and improved information on fuel consumption on the bridge. The result of these efforts is substantial. Our studies show that the carbon dioxide emissions from shipping in the North Sea have been reduced by approximately 25% since 2008. This has been accomplished solely through competition within the shipping sector and by industry response to customer needs.
As an industry, we face a new energy challenge. It´s time to look for a new fuel again. Today most ships run on heavy fuel oil—a residual substance at refineries as compared to the different fine distillates that supply cars and aircrafts. Tighter regulations for cars and lorries have resulted in even dirtier fuel for ships. Although being the most environmentally friendly mode of transport, maritime shipping cannot and should not be excluded when it comes to environmental improvements.
Natural gas is a comparably clean fuel. It is also quite cheap. The problem is that it is very hard to transport, unless you are close to a pipeline. This problem can be solved in two ways. First, by lowering the temperature to -163 degrees, which makes the gas a liquid and 600 times smaller in volume. It’s called LNG (liquid natural gas) and is often used to transport natural gas where it can later be turned into gasified natural gas. Natural gas from LNG is increasingly used as a fuel for ships.
The second alternative is to convert natural gas to methanol at the source. Then it becomes a normal flammable liquid. It is possible to produce methanol from many different sources, for example, forest products or waste. It is even possible to make methanol from carbon dioxide and water.
We are looking very closely at these different options, but it’s still too early to say whether LNG or methanol will be the choice for shipping.
Shipping is developing with society—and it will continue to contribute to a sustainable world.