Check out the top stories from the deep, taken from coverage between 12-19 December 2022
Can Cop15 protect ocean biodiversity from the big fish of the ‘blue economy’?
Source: The Guardian
Author: Guy Standing
“Since the sea was enclosed in 1982, it has been ravaged by profiteers – many of whose lobbyists are circling in Montreal”
The ‘Blue Economy’, is a sector relied on by billions globally, and one which is set to be “the future of economic growth”. Yet, it’s wellbeing is largely ignored by economists and politicians alike. State ownership and privatization is allowing for the mass “plundering” of ocean resources as ‘rampant profiteering’ threatens to “ravage” the ocean entirely. What can and should COP15 be doing? Standing unpacks the discussions around fisheries, MPAs, noise pollution and deep-sea mining in Montreal.
Council and Parliament strike provisional deal to create a sustainable life cycle for batteries
Source: Council of the EU
“The Council and the European Parliament today reached a provisional political agreement on a proposal to strengthen sustainability rules for batteries and waste batteries. For the first time the legislation will regulate the entire life cycle of a battery – from production to reuse and recycling – and ensure that they are safe, sustainable and competitive. The deal is provisional pending formal adoption in both institutions.”
A press release from the Council of the EU has met to make much needed amendments to battery legislation. With a global movement away from fossil fuels – demand for batteries is rapidly growing and this move comes with its own dangers and challenges (one of which is a perceived demand for deep-sea mining). This new deal proposes better regulation on the whole ‘life cycle’ of a battery – placing greater emphasis on reuse and recycling targets.
COP15: Rich countries announce alliance to make mineral mining green
Author: James Dinneen
“Seven of the world’s wealthiest countries have announced an alliance to improve the sustainability of mining minerals that will be needed to reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels”
Alongside commitments to “reduce the world’s reliance on fossil fuels” has come a surge in demand for the rare minerals needed to make batteries. The mining practices associated with the collection of these minerals have the potential to be devastatingly destructive to the environment. COP15 has marked a growing awareness of this fine balance as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US have come together in discussion of the issue.
As the world searches for safe, low-cost big batteries, an old Australian invention is getting new attention
Author: Ellen Phiddian
Lithium is one of the rare minerals currently being heavily mined for use in batteries. Such demand is one of the driving incentives for destructive deep-sea mining. The ‘flow battery’, an Australian invention developed in the 1980s, requires no lithium and far fewer rare minerals of any sort. Phiddian discusses the complex science of this alternative battery which has few drawbacks beyond its startling size.
Avatar 2: The Way of Water or the way of the coloniser?
Authors: James Hita and Zane Wedding
“Sitting in the movie theatre watching this, we saw deep-rooted parallels in the film between extractive industries like logging and land-based mining in the Pacific historically, with the new threat on the horizon of deep sea mining.”
Avatar 2 has created a lot of discourse around environmental exploitation and the IPLC experiences around this exploitation. Some of this discourse (for instance the attention drawn to greenwashing and deep-sea mining) has been welcome, other aspects (the “ full-blown cultural appropriation” of the Māori people) have been considered deeply harmful. Hita and Wedding discuss their feelings as environmental activists of Māori descent.
Watered down: why negotiators at Cop15 are barely mentioning the ocean
Source: The Guardian
Author: Chris Michael
“With only two instances of the word ‘ocean’ in the latest 5,000-word working agreement, delegates fear marine biodiversity is being sacrificed”
While the public awareness of the Ocean’s significance is growing, behind closed doors, many fear it is an area which continues to be neglected in negotiations. “China, Russia, Indonesia and Argentina among those accused of being hesitant to commit to specific restrictions” and there are wider concerns about the Ocean’s exclusion from 30×30 commitments.
Hervé Berville And Steffi Lemke: “The Global Ocean Is In Danger, We Are Determined To Act”
Author: David Sadler
We are only beginning to fully appreciate their role, but everywhere we see that the health of the oceans is subject to multiple pressures.
Alongside the threats of acidification, pollution and temperature change, the ‘emerging’ risk of deep-sea mining is gaining attention as increasing numbers call on governments for a moratorium.
The deep sea discoveries and sightings of 2022 are fascinating
Author: Mark Kaufman
“Deep ocean missions are often considered the new exploration of little-known — or just never-visited — places on Earth.”
Mashable takes us through some of the most intriguing deep-sea discoveries made in 2022. “Blue goo” and “unusually perfect holes” are exciting insights into a world we understand so little about; and more importantly indicates that the deep sea, with such potential for scientific discovery, must be preserved.