New Zealand fisheries want grisly images of dead penguins caught in nets censored

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Industry leaders say plan to install cameras on commercial fishing vessels is a risk to ‘NZ Inc’ NZ fisheries are worried about the release of footage such as this of a penguin found dead in a fishing net. Photograph: Ministry of Primary Industries, New Zealand ​The seafood industry in New Zealand has asked the government to withhold graphic video of dead sea life caught in trawler nets as they are potentially damaging to fisheries and to brand New Zealand . A letter from five seafood industry leaders to the Ministry of Primary Industries highlights the fisheries’ growing unease with the government’s proposal to install video cameras on all commercial fishing vessels to monitor bycatch of other species and illegal fish dumping. The letter requests an amendment to the Fisheries Act, so video captured onboard cannot be released to the general public through a freedom of information request, frequently used by...
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Scientists Just Recalibrated Our Future Climate Scenarios And We Need to Pay Attention

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Climate scientists on Wednesday suggested that they may be able to rule out some of the most dire scenarios of what would happen if greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere were to double.   Unfortunately, the same scientists say the best-case scenarios are also probably unrealistic. How a doubling of atmospheric greenhouse gases would affect the climate is of tremendous importance, as humans are running out of time to avoid that outcome. With current atmospheric concentrations at 405 parts per million , as opposed to about 280 parts per million before the dawn of the industrial era, the planet is already about halfway there. In the new study in the journal Nature, Peter Cox and Mark Williams of the University of Exeter and Chris Huntingford of the United Kingdom's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology attempt to recalculate the "equilibrium climate sensitivity", a highly influential metric that describes how much the...
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Our Choking Oceans

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At several points in the earth’s past the oceans have given up their oxygen and borne witness to massive die-offs of marine creatures--extinction-level events--that forever changed the composition of marine life. These episodes of oxygen depletion seem to have been caused by molten magma being released into the seas, which belched massive quantities of iron into the ocean, prompting iron-loving algae to bloom in huge fields and robbing the seas of oxygen. Or, these eruptions sent carbon dioxide into the air, beginning a greenhouse effect that warmed seawater, reducing its ability to hold oxygen. Either way, when the ocean loses oxygen on a wide scale, it is very bad. And now, it’s happening again. Last week, an article in the journal Science showed that since about 1950, the zones of the world’s oceans that have lower-than-normal oxygen concentrations have increased dramatically in size. Big sections of the seas have such...
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Seismic Sea Sickness

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Whales, are possibly the most irie animal on the planet. Gooi them some dreadlocks and you would be forgiven for mistaking these ocean wanderers as Bob Marley reincarnate, shit these homies even sing. You would also be forgiven for thinking that humans, despite a nation or two, leave these peaceful giants in peace. Well, sorry to burst your underwater bubble bru but your wrong! Familiar with a process called seismic surveying? Naught, didn’t think so! In a nutshell seismic surveying is a process used in ocean exploration to produce detailed images of local geology to source the location and size of possible oil and gas reservoirs. Sound waves are bounced off underground rock formations, and the waves that reflect back to the surface are captured by recording sensors for later analyses. So, what’s the big fuss? Well if you’re a whale, dolphin, turtle, cod, scallop or even plankton (not the oue...
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From greenhouse gases to plastics: New catalyst for recycling carbon dioxide discovered

The surface of a nanostructured copper catalyst that converts CO2 into ethylene. Credit: Canadian Light Source Imagine if we could take CO2, that most notorious of greenhouse gases, and convert it into something useful. Something like plastic, for example. The positive effects could be dramatic, both diverting CO2 from the atmosphere and reducing the need for fossil fuels to make products. A group of researchers, led by the University of Toronto Ted Sargent group, just published results that bring this possibility a lot closer. Using the Canadian Light Source and a new technique exclusive to the facility, they were able to pinpoint the conditions that convert CO2 to ethylene most efficiently. Ethylene, in turn, is used to make polyethylene—the most common plastic used today—whose annual global production is around 80 million tonnes. "This experiment could not have been performed anywhere else in the world, and we are thrilled with the...
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