Ocean and Coastal Policy Program News

U.N. Climate Deal: Are we Done?

In the largest ever single-day turn-out for a signing ceremony, more than 170 governments on April 22 signed the Paris Agreement, which has a goal of limiting average surface temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Voice of America asked experts if the agreement solves climate change globally. Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, says the real test is “whether the countries will actually take action."In the largest ever single-day turn-out for a signing ceremony, more than 170 governments on April 22 signed the Paris Agreement, which has a goal of limiting average surface temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Voice of America asked experts if the agreement solves climate change globally. Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, says the real test is “whether the countries will actually take action."

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Scientists Call for New Strategy to Study Climate Change Impacts on Coral Reefs

An international research team, which includes the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Linwood Pendleton, calls for a targeted research strategy to better understand the impact multiple stressors will have on coral reef in the future due to global climate change. The scientists published their new approach to coral reef research in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

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Study Finds Impacts to Coral Reefs Underestimated

In a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ Linwood Pendleton—with co-authors from the University of Miami, the University of Queensland and the University of Brest—report that evidence is stacking up to suggest that impacts to coral reefs may be underestimated. In a Q&A, Pendleton says that’s not all. By themselves, current scientific studies do not fully capture the complexity or number of environmental changes the reefs face.

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Duke Kunshan to Offer New Professional Degree in Environmental Policy

Duke Kunshan University will offer a new international master’s degree in environmental policy (IMEP) beginning in the fall of 2017. The four-semester, 16-course program is designed to meet the growing global need for leaders who are versed in both Chinese and international environmental issues and policies. Billy Pizer of the Sanford School and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutionsis among the faculty members that spearheaded the program’s creation.

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U.S. Federal Government Sends Agencies to Bat — For Nature and People

A memorandum released last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, and Office of Science and Technology Policy recognizes the power all U.S. federal agencies hold to affect human lives by changing nature, and asks them to act like it. The Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander and the Nature Conservancy's Heather Tallis write about how agencies will consider the value of ecosystem services in decision making on the Cool Green Science blog. 

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Mangrove Forests Help Keep our Heads Above Water—and Marine Protected Areas Help them Help Us

On Earth Magazine reports on a new study from Duke University researchers finding that conservation measures in Indonesia—home to the world’s largest area of mangrove forests—prevented the loss of around 35,000 acres of mangrove habitat between 2000 and 2010. By leaving these forests alone, about 13 million metric tons of stored carbon didn’t get released into the atmosphere. 

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Carbon Dioxide and Mangroves: Equivalent to Removing Cars From Road

Mangrove conservation efforts not only prevent habitat loss, but also help regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Nature World News details a study by researchers from Duke that indicates protected areas in Indonesia have maintained 35,594 acres of mangrove habitats and prevented the release into the atmosphere of about 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide that the mangrove roots help store.  

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Protected Areas Save Mangroves, Reduce Carbon Emissions

Protected areas not only keep significant swaths of Indonesia’s shrinking mangrove habitats intact, but also prevent emissions of carbon dioxide that would have been released had these mangroves been cleared, according to a study in the journal Ecological Economics. Published online, the analysis examined the success of protected areas between 2000 and 2010, finding that their use has avoided the loss of 14,000 hectares of mangrove habitat.

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Our Impact: First Comprehensive Estimate of Blue Carbon Losses Drives Policy

Learn more about the Nicholas Institute-led study that provided the first comprehensive estimates of global CO2 emissions from the loss of coastal marine ecosystems.

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We Can End Illegal Fishing in the Ocean

Overfishing is a key environmental challenge of our time. Experts estimate that, globally, 29 percent of assessed fish stocks are biologically overfished—up from 10 percent in 1970. Illegal, unregulated, or unreported fishing is a large contributor to this problem. John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, writes in The Hill that in the past six months he's noticed a convergence of improved surveillance technology, public awareness, and government interest that could allow us to turn the tide on illegal fishing.

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