YOUR WEEKLY BRIEFING FROM PARLEY
 

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Following last week’s massive global youth climate strike, some rare good news on the emissions front. A US judge has halted hundreds of drilling projects in Wyoming, in what The Guardian newspaper calls a “groundbreaking climate change ruling.” The decision is the first significant check on the climate impact of the Trump administration’s “energy-first” agenda that has opened up vast swaths of public land for mining and drilling. A recent study found the administration has made more than 13 million onshore acres available for leasing. The vast majority are located in the western states of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The administration also plans to make large portions of the Atlantic Ocean available for oil and gas development, and the interior department has been criticized for favoring the energy industry.


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OVERFISHING

Sea Shepherd is on the frontlines of this year’s controversial herring fishing season in British Columbia. The tiny fish are a crucial part of the West Coast’s marine ecosystem, feeding salmon, seals, sea lions and killer whales. Sea Shepherd and other groups are fighting to save the last viable herring population, which is highly fragile as young fish rely on older ones to guide them to the spawning grounds. If they die, the link is broken. Compounding the insanity is the fact most herring are ground up to feed to farm-raised fish.

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WHALES

The “blob” – a mysterious mass of warm water that stretched hundreds of miles across the Pacific for six years – may have caused fewer humpback whales to be born, according to a new study. Between 2017 and 2018, unknown circumstances seem to have hampered humpback whale birth rates. Such findings should be treated an analog for climate change, showing how it could devastate the ocean’s equilibrium, the study says. If global warming persists, events like the blob will become the new normal.

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INNOVATION

Adding iron or other nutrients into the oceans to enhance natural processes to draw carbon from the atmosphere and creating foams which float on the surface of the sea to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere are among a wide range of geoengineering practices which have been put forward as potential tools for countering climate change. But, in a new report, marine and social scientists are urging a precautionary approach with techniques that involve deliberate large-scale manipulation of the environment.

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PLASTIC POLLUTION

A beached whale found in the Philippines died with 88 pounds of plastic trash inside its body, an unusually large amount even by the grim standards of what is a common threat to marine wildlife. The 1,100-pound whale, measuring 15 feet long, was found in the town of Mabini with plastic bags and a variety of other disposable plastic products inside its stomach. Researchers conducting a necropsy on the whale called it the worst collection of plastic inside an animal they had ever seen.

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