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Giant floating dam that promises to rid the oceans of plastic gets its first trial on open water: Revolutionary 328ft barrier will be installed in the North Sea next year January 4, 2016

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  • Boyan Slat’s idea on how to rid the seas of the eight millions tons of plastic it holds is being put to the test
  • Technology has already been trialled in Dutch lakes and Japanese waterways but next year’s test will be its first sea
  • It works by using the current to capture floating plastic, allowing aquatic life to safely escape under the buffer
  • If the Ocean Cleanup trials are successful, more trials could be installed around the globe


A revolutionary floating dam (illustrated) that traps plastic bags, bottles and other waste choking the world’s oceans will be tested at sea for the first time next year. The technology has already tested the technology in Dutch lakes

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3379865/Giant-floating-dam-traps-plastic-waste-oceans-tested-year-Trial-328ft-barrier-place-North-Sea.html#ixzz3wGiBsXV7
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Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3379865/Giant-floating-dam-traps-plastic-waste-oceans-tested-year-Trial-328ft-barrier-place-North-Sea.html#ixzz3wGhz7k1P
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Sea turtles show the way to mystery foraging area in the Mediterranean September 22, 2015

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Source: Medasset

A few weeks ago we told you the story of five female green sea turtles released from Alagadi (Alakati) beach in Cyprus to be tracked via satellite by researchers* aiming to identify foraging areas in the Mediterranean so far unknown. “To know is to do” so if we know where the rare green turtles feed we can then help protect these areas.
Since their release on June 30th, we have been following the 5 sea turtles closely, wondering if they would reveal their secret. And they did!

All 5 migrated through the Levantine sea, south of Cyprus, passed the waters of Lebanon, Israel and Gaza, and arrived at (drumsticks)….Bardawil lagoon in N. Sinai in Egypt! If that name sounds familiar it is because MEDASSET and our Egyptian colleagues surveyed Bardawil lagoon in 2012 following reports of numerous dead turtles there.  Our survey indicated that Bardwil may be a feeding, development or overwintering habitat for sea turtles. But back then we could not say for sure how important this area is for the green turtles.

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Government of Catalonia at the World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation, Manchester, 2-4 September September 1, 2015

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The Catalan Office for Climate Change will present the study “Global Indicator of Adaptation to Climate Change Impacts in Catalonia” at the World Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation (WSCCA-2015), Manchester, UK 2-4 September 2015.

The study took 83 indicators as its starting point, identifying and classifying 29 key indicators as the methodology was developed. These are grouped under the following headings: water management, agriculture and livestock farming, forestry, health, the energy sector, industry, services and commerce, tourism, town planning and housing, mobility and transport infrastructures, research, development and innovation.

The subsequent statistical analysis of these 29 indicators, with the assistance of the Catalan Institute for the Evaluation of Public Policies (Ivàlua), produced a global adaptation indicator quantifying Catalonia’s capacity to adapt to climate change impacts. This global indicator is based on two factors: use of resources and environmental quality. Effectively, capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change depends on how we use resources (water and energy, principally) and on the quality of the environment (basically, the air we breathe).

The document contains a detailed description of all the indicators analysed. It also explains how the single global indicator was calculated. This detail means the methodology can be used by any country which has the necessary data available.

The global indicator allows a country’s capacity to adapt to climate change to be monitored over time. The absolute value of the indicator (from 0 to 10) dropped slightly between 2005 and 2011. Catalonia is working on the issue, but must continue to make every effort to improve the extent to which we are adapting to ensure that our land, natural systems and society are progressively less vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

In developing this indicator, Catalonia has a tool which provides guidance on where to focus efforts towards developing a green, circular, low-carbon economy which is adaptable to the new conditions brought about by climate change. This is opening up a range of economic and social opportunities which are currently being developed in fields such as energy efficiency, saving water, renewable energies, smart mobility, forestry management and healthcare.

The study is available here:

Urban vulnerability to climate change in Europe – a map book (Pilot version) July 15, 2015

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Source: EEA

Climate change is happening, and is projected to continue, posing serious challenges for cities:
rises in average temperatures, in precipitation irregularities (more intense rainfall, or drought) and in sea levels. These changes are expected to result in more frequent and intense heatwaves, droughts, fires and floods across Europe.
Read more: Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe

A map book

This map book aims to provide a Europe-wide overview of the potential vulnerability of major cities to climate change. The maps pinpoint possible weaknesses or problematic areas.
They present single indicators or variables that indicate certain vulnerabilities of major European cities to climate change, specifically to the climatic threats of heatwaves, water scarcity and droughts, floods and forest fires. Three types of indicators are listed:
  • exposure indicators: these provide information about the level of exposure to climate impacts;
  • sensitivity indicators: these provide information about the susceptibility of cities to such impacts, via population composition, spatial planning or physical conditions;
  • response capacity indicators: these provide information about characteristics that help to reduce or overcome the impacts.

Options to use the maps …

As a starting point, the indicated vulnerabilities will encourage stakeholders at European, national and city level to explore each situation in further detail, with more and local information. Furthermore, the map book enables cities to locate other cities with similar circumstances, as a starting point for sharing knowledge and experience. It shows clusters and hotspots for which national and European level actors can develop more tailored support. Finally, the map book provides a simple framework for urban vulnerability indicators, and indicates where further information is needed at local level, in order to make more detailed specific assessments.

… while recognising their limitations

The map book cannot provide a full and comprehensive picture, and the following limitations must be taken into account.
  • Uncertainties: the future is uncertain. Climate change projections are based on various scenarios that describe not one but a range of possible futures, based on the best available current knowledge. There is no way of knowing for sure what might transpire or which action to take in order to boost resilience.
  • Limited data availability: the best available Europe-wide data for cities is used in this map book, but coverage in several indicators is still limited. Specific data collection at local level might yield better outcomes in some instances.
    Also, in many cases, data are not yet available for projections on future climate change and demographics, land use and economic change. The assessment is therefore based on current vulnerabilities.
  • Limited number of indicators: due to a lack of Europe-wide data, only a few indicators can be shown in the map book. These indicators are considered to be key for a good understanding of city vulnerability, but additional indicators are needed to describe the vulnerability in full.

→ Maps per climatic threat
→ Maps of generic response capacity
→ Explore further

How to improve the efficiency of public participation processes in coastal management July 2, 2015

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Source: Science for Environment Policy

Public participation in developing coastal management plans can have numerous benefits, such as augmenting expert information with local knowledge and building trust, a new study has confirmed; however, challenges remain, say the researchers. They use the experiences of 10 case studies to make a series of recommendations regarding how to improve the efficiency of the process.

Public participation has a valuable role to play in the development of sustainability policies; it can enhance the democratic nature of the process, encourage knowledge exchange, foster trust and help reach a consensus. It is considered to be particularly important when managing coastal environments, as this complex task involves many different stakeholders all using the areas in different ways. However, public participation can also create challenges; it can be expensive, labour-intensive, confrontational, and can cause delays to the development and implementation of policies.

To date, there has been little research into ways of improving the process or methods to avoid pitfalls. For this study, researchers examined how to improve the efficacy of public participation in Integrated Coastal Zone Management. In particular, they examine the results of an EU project, PEGASO1, using 10 case studies, chosen to represent different spatial scales, issues, expertise and experiences. Seven of these were in the Mediterranean (in Morocco, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Lebanon) and three in Black Sea (in Romania, Ukraine, Georgia). Each case study group was able to develop its own methods for public participation, after a training course offered by the project.

After exploring the experiences of the 10 case studies, the researchers found that public participation had many positive impacts. It raised awareness regarding the importance of coastal management and ensured that knowledge was shared as well as partly bridging the gaps between the public, scientists, coastal managers and decision makers. However, there were areas that could be improved, and these can be summarised into five main recommendations:

1) It is very important that relevant data are available and easily interpreted. To make informed decisions the participants need to have access to a range of information concerning different issues and perspectives.

2) Although information from stakeholders is very valuable, helping to bridge gaps between expert and local knowledge, collating and combining these different types of data and information in the case studies proved very difficult and time consuming. Putting a procedure in place to deal with this challenge from the beginning of the process is important.

3) It is essential that there is co-ordination and flexibility between the many actors involved in coastal management. Government agencies, NGOs, businesses, research institutes and others all need to work together. Public participation can only work if it has a co-ordinated structure to build on.

4) It is important to encourage local stakeholders to take the lead in the participation process, to ensure that it can continue after the funded project has come to an end. Coastal management is a long-term process and public participation should continue to provide input.

5) There is often a mis-match between large-scale pressures on coastal environments and the local-scale governance used to manage them. This is also an important issue for the participation process, and should be taken into account when identifying which stakeholders to include.

Massive UNFCC supported citizen consultation results on climate action to be presented at Bonn UNFCCC talks June 11, 2015

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Source: climateobserver.org

Thousands of people from about 80 countries on Saturday (June 6) participated in a multisite consultation on climate and energy actions, involving more than 10000 citizens.

The “World Wide Views” initiative (launched by the UNFCCC Secretariat and implemented by World Wide Views Alliance, with the support of the Danish Board of Technology Foundation, Missions Publiques and the French National Commission for Public Debate) aims at bringing the views of citizens on climate and energy issues to the attention of governments, public officials, UN institutions, local authorities, stakeholders and companies. The questions address a wide range of topics, organized under five thematic sessions: importance of tackling climate change, tools to tackle climate change, UN negotiations and national commitments, fairness and distribution of efforts, making and keeping climate promises.

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Mediterranean region exposed to resource depletion and price volatility May 18, 2015

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The Mediterranean region currently uses approximately 2.5 times more natural resources and ecological services than its ecosystems can provide. Consequently, the region depends heavily on imports and is vulnerable to volatility in the international price levels of natural resources such as agricultural commodities, minerals and fossil fuels.

These are among the findings of a new article published April 25 in the journal Environmental Science & Policy (Elsevier). The paper was co-authored by three researchers from the international think tank Global Footprint Network (MIO-ECSDE’s Member) and titled “Physical limits to resource access and utilization and their economic implications in Mediterranean economies.” The article is available for free download at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1462901115000696.

The authors find that a 10% increase in the price of natural resources would result in a worsening of countries’ trade balances equivalent to as much as 2.4% of the GDP, as in the case of Jordan. Italy, France and Greece, moreover, would see their resource import bills increase by approximately US$ 9.2 billion (equivalent to 0.5% of its GDP), US$ 8.4 billion (0.3% of its GDP) and US$ 1 billion (0.4% of its GDP), respectively . Only two countries would see an improvement in their trade balance – Algeria and Libya – due to more revenues from oil exports.

In the last 50 years the Mediterranean region’s population doubled and its per-person consumption levels increased 54 percent since 1961, according to the article. Half of the region’s natural resources are imported, mainly from the USA, China, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Growth in population and consumption levels worldwide has led to more competition for resources at a time when the economies of many Mediterranean countries have suffered from economic downturns. The result, conclude the authors, is that the Mediterranean countries have less financial means to buy resources from outside their borders.

“Overall, it appears that the changing global context of resource availability is making the long-held pattern of resource consumption in the Mediterranean untenable“ the authors conclude.

FIGURE: Sensitivity to natural resource price changes (SPC) for Mediterranean countries.

Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything – video May 18, 2015

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Source: The Guardian

Naomi Klein didn’t think climate change was her issue but when she realised the close link between environmental destruction and inequality, everything changed. In Naomi’s home country, the Canadian government granted virtual free rein to companies seeking oil in Alberta’s tar sands, creating a boom town in Fort McMurray. Like large numbers of activists across the world, the indigenous population in Alberta protested the environmental damage. How can we connect the dots among movements around the world to tackle climate change and inequality at the same time?

This is an edited excerpt from a work-in-progress. The feature length documentary This Changes Everything, directed by Avi Lewis, will be completed and launched later this year

CleanSea consortium meets in Amsterdam to share preliminary results and prepare roadmap for clean seas February 3, 2015

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The CleanSea Project team met at IVM-VU University Amsterdam on 28 and 29 January 2015, marking the end of the second project year. Preliminary results were presented and discussed among project partners, who left the meeting prepared for the work to be done in the final year of the project (project runs January 2013 to December 2015). The meeting gave attention to a special outcome of the project: a “Roadmap” to a future litter-free sea, a document (in preparation) that will integrate project results across natural and social science research and provide guidance to policy makers and others tackling marine litter across European seas.

Several staff of the EUCC Mediterranean Centre attended the meeting as communication leaders and Mediterranean regional partner conducting research on socioeconomics and governance.

Researchers discussed aspects such as the biological effects of microplastics at the level of organisms, populations and ecosystems. These particles are caused by fragmentation, a topic also being studied in an indoor ‘plastic soup’ test system within the project. A newly designed microlitter sampler has been tested and fine-tuned and promises to be a valuable tool for future research and monitoring of the water column. Hyperspectral imaging, Raman spectrometry and mass spectrometry techniques are three approaches to identify plastics in environmental samples that are being applied in the project. Field sampling is continuing to produce micro- and macrolitter data in the European marine environment, some of which is also being used as input for the modeling exercises within the project.

Economic costs of marine litter in the fisheries sector, ports and on recreational beaches are being studied, as well as beach users’ perceptions in the three regional seas (North, Black and Mediterranean). The progress towards analysis of best practices and short-and long-term policy options to reduce marine litter in Europe was presented. These analyses encompass not only regulatory and market-based instruments but also more bottom-up approaches (e.g. co-management, communicative) to identify points of intervention in different areas of the manufactured product system that could be used to reduce marine litter. The project will address innovations and policy integration as part of the mix that can help Europe reach Good Environmental Status (GES).

The Black Sea Commission was represented at this meeting by BSC Officer Ms. Irina Makarenko, who provided advice and input from the perspective of this important Regional Sea Commission.

CleanSea is entering a crucial stage of validating and integrating the wealth of knowledge and data coming out of the project, which can be transferred to a variety of stakeholders. As a final project dissemination event, the CleanSea Symposium and Documentary Film Presentation will be held on the 3rd of December 2015 at the EYE Film Institute, a spectacular venue in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. This event is open to all interested stakeholders and the public.  Save the date!

Med-IAMER: Stakeholders consultation process – Adriatic-Ionian ecoregion January 23, 2015

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Med-IAMER: Stakeholders consultation process – Adriatic-Ionian ecoregion

Deadline : 28 February 2015This survey is part of the stakeholders’ consultation process led by Plan Bleu in the framework of Med-IAMER project. Med-IAMER proposes an integrated environmental status assessment to mitigate environmental risks to be addressed at trans-boundary scale in the Mediterranean Sea. The approach draws on the main pressures and the conservation level in the Western Mediterranean and the Adriatic-Ionian ecoregions to identify spatial hotspots of environmental pressures. (More information: http://www.medmaritimeprojects.eu/section/med-iamer)

Through this survey, we would like your feedback and comments on Med-IAMER preliminary results in the Adriatic-Ionian Basin, presented via factsheets, in order to improve the knowledge on the:
• major drivers and pressures identified in the Adriatic-Ionian region;
• data/indicators needs and gaps;
• most relevant policies and governance arrangements in influencing the level of pressure on resources.


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