Ecosystem Services Program News

Building a Blue Economy in North Carolina

The ocean economy contributed $2.1 billion and 43,385 jobs to North Carolina’s economy in 2013, according to a new report by North Carolina Sea Grant and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Ocean and coastal resources played an even larger role in the state’s coastal counties, providing 6.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, and supporting 13 percent of employment. And according to “North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy” report co-author Tibor Vegh, these figures are most likely low. “Our estimates represent a snapshot in time only for the sectors where we could find economic data,” Vegh, a policy analyst with the Nicholas Institute, tells CoastWatch.

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Bridging Gaps: Cross-Sector Collaboration is the Future of Sustainable Business

In a blog post for Thrive, the Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander and her co-authors emphasize how cross-sector collaboration is the future of sustainable business. The Bridge Collaborative, co-led by four key organizations—Duke University, PATH, the International Food Policy Research Institute, and The Nature Conservancy—are connecting the health, environment, and development communities to develop the evidence for results that support shared solutions to global challenges. 

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ACES: A Lesson in Storytelling and Breaking Down Silos

In a blog post, the Nicholas Institute’s Sara Mason writes about attending the A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES) conference in Jacksonville, Florida. There, Mason says, the common theme was the absolute importance of telling engaging stories on ecosystem services that not only resonate with all types of, but are framed to engage communities no matter what their political views.

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Research Maps Countries that will be Most Impacted by Large-Scale Coral Reef Loss

New evidence from Duke environmental researchers points to the devastation coral reefs could face in the next few decades—which would affect human populations around the world. ”Some scientists have held out hope that there would be reef areas that could escape the harm of climate change, but we find that most reefs will be affected by either warmer seas or more acidic oceans,” said Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Linwood Pendleton. “2016 has been one of the worst years in memory for coral bleaching. This fact is demonstrated by this year’s bleaching event that affected nearly all of the Great Barrier Reef.”

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Overcoming Barriers to Large-Scale Conservation

Work by Lydia Olander of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and Paul Trianosky of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative is shedding light on how to overcome barriers to large-scale conservation. 

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Transitioning to a 'Blue Economy' can Reshape the Ocean Landscape

In The Hill, the Nicholas Institute's John Virdin and the World Bank's Pawan Patil write that as we enter a period of uncertainty in both international and climate policy following the United States presidential election, identifying a concept that can help find the wins between the economy and the environment is even more important. In the ocean, policymakers are asking if this may be achieved, in part, under the new concept: Blue Economy. 

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Coral Decay: Scientists Pinpoint Regions Where Declining Coral Reefs could Impact People the Most

Rising carbon dioxide levels amplify the risk of elevated sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, and these two global stressors may severely harm warm-water coral reef ecosystems and the people who depend on them. PLOS One Research News features a Q&A with Linwood Pendleton, senior scholar at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and lead author of a new study that uses an indicator approach to identify where coral reef-dependent people were most likely to be affected by rising CO2 levels by 2050. 

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One Of These Conservatives Should Be Trump's EPA Chief

There have been lots of rumors about who President-elect Trump is going to pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. In truth, at this point, no one knows who is going to lead the Trump Administration’s EPA. Forbes provides a list of individuals they would suggest who are knowledgeable about environmental policy, who are fiscally responsible, and who care about the environment. Among them: Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Board of Advisors Chair William K. Reilly. 

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Study Outlines Risks to Territory Linked to Loss of Coral

New research published Wednesday warns of dire consequences for humans in low-lying areas of the world with large coral reefs, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, reports the Virgin Islands Daily News. The research, published in the scientific journal PLOS, was written “to understand where the effects of climate change and ocean acidification would affect the most people,” said Linwood Pendleton, a senior scholar at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who is a lead author on the report.

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Coral Vulnerability

NRDC writes about how coral reefs worldwide are threatened by rising sea surface temperatures and ocean acidification, and humans will acutely feel this loss in a high carbon future. Who is likely to be most harmed by coral reef loss from these global stressors is the subject of a recent analysis published yesterday in the journal PLOS One.

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