Thursday, February 04, 2021

Rising sea temperatures are SHRINKING our favourite fish, including cod, haddock and whiting, study finds

This is utter rot. They admit that overfishing is causing more juvenile catches but somehow rope in global warming as well. They have NO metrics that would support that allocation of responsibility. It is just guesses and assertion.

Extra warmth is good for most life-forms so any warming is more likely to INCREASE the size of the fish

Rising sea temperatures are shrinking our favourite commercial fish — including cod and haddock — in the North Sea and West of Scotland, researchers have found.

Experts from Aberdeen analysed 30 years of trawl survey data on cod, haddock, whiting and saith from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

They found that while juvenile fish in the North Sea and the West of Scotland have been getting bigger faster, the size of adults has been decreasing.

Furthermore, these changes in size are correlated with the increases in bottom sea temperatures in both areas, the analysis concluded.

According to the researchers, the data predicts a reduction in commercial fishery yields in the short term — with the long-term forecast presently unclear.

Fisheries will need to factor temperature changes into their forecasts, the team added, as to mitigate the effects of global warming and maximise sustainable yields.

The fishing industry in the UK presently employs some 24,000 thousand people and is worth around £1.4 billion to the economy.

'Both the changes in juvenile and adult size coincided with increasing sea temperature,' said paper author and biologist Idongesit Ikpewe, of the University of Aberdeen.

'Importantly, we observed this pattern in both the North Sea, which has warmed rapidly, and the west of Scotland, which has only experienced moderate warming.'

'These findings suggest that even a moderate rise in sea temperature may have an impact on commercial fish species’ body sizes.'

Warming waters limit fish body size because it both contains less oxygen but also increases metabolic rates and, therefore the demand for oxygen.

This means that fish more quickly reach the size at which growing larger would prevent them acquiring enough oxygen to meet their metabolic demands.

Data used in the study was collected as part of the fisheries-independent Bottom Trawl Surveys, and covered the period from 1970–2017 for the North Sea and 1986–2016 for the West of Scotland.

'Our findings have crucial and immediate implications for the fisheries sector,' Mr Ikpewe added.

'The decrease in adult body size is likely to reduce commercial fisheries' yields.'

'However, in the long-term, the faster growing and larger juveniles may compensate, to some extent, for the latter yield loss, as although the increase in length (and, therefore, weight) per individual may be small, younger fish are far more numerous.'

'It is this trade-off that we now need to investigate,' he continued.

Alongside the impacts on the fishing industry, changes in the size of these species will also likely affect marine ecosystems, the researchers warned.

'Of the four species we looked at, three — cod, whiting and saithe — are fish eating predators towards the top end of the food chain and therefore have an important ecological role in the ecosystems they inhabit,' said Mr Ikpewe.

'Since predator size dictates what prey they can target, a change in the body size of these fish species may have implications or predator-prey relationships.'

This, he added, could have 'consequences [for] the structure of the food web.'

Although the findings do provide strong empirical evidence for changes in fish size and growth rates in warming seas, the team noted that the study had its limitations.

The team, for example, only considered so-called 'demersal' species — that is, those that live close to the seabed — and also did not examine some of the UK's other commercially important species, such herring and mackerel.

'The next stage of our work is to consider the management implications based on modelling these populations,' said Mr Ikpewe.

'The idea is to work out what the size changes we observed may mean for future fish productivity and yield under different scenarios of warming.'

The full findings of the study were published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

Air pollution can damage your BRAIN: Exposure to smog in childhood can affect your cognitive skills up to 60 years later, study warns

I don't think I need to critique this study. Their own conclusions are pretty negative: "From this one study alone, we cannot link exposure to air pollution in childhood to any meaningful change between the ages of 11 and 70 years"

Being exposed to smog and air pollution while a child can damage your cognitive skills up to six decades after you were exposed, a new study has warned.

University of Edinburgh experts tested the general intelligence of over 500 people aged 70 using a test the same group completed when they were 11 years old.

They also examined where the group had lived throughout their life to estimate the levels of air pollution they were exposed to during their early childhood.

Those volunteers who had been exposed to air pollution as a child had suffered a small - but detectable - level of cognitive decline between the age of 11 and 70.

Researchers behind this study didn't examine why air pollution appears to cause reduced cognitive skill, but previous studies have found it may be due to metal-toting particles in the pollution reaching the brain and damaging neurons.

The study was designed to show it is possible to estimate historical air pollution - and then explore who this related to cognitive ability throughout life, the team say.

The Scottish researchers used statistical models to analyse the relationship between someone's exposure to air pollution and their thinking skills as they get older.

They also considered lifestyle factors, such as socio-economic status and smoking.

Kohlhaas said there was a growing body of evidence that air pollution can increase the risk of developing dementia - alongside a range of other external factors.

'Dementia isn’t an inevitable part of getting older, and factors including age, genetics and the environment affect the risk of developing the condition,' she said.

Dr Tom Russ, Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said the study shows the danger of air pollution.

'For the first time we have shown the effect that exposure to air pollution very early in life could have on the brain many decades later,' he explained.

'This is the first step towards understanding the harmful effects of air pollution on the brain and could help reduce the risk of dementia for future generations.'

Researchers say until now it has not been possible to explore the impact of early exposure to air pollution on thinking skills in later life because of a lack of data on air pollution levels before the 1990s when routine monitoring began.

For this study researchers used a model called the EMEP4UK atmospheric chemistry transport model to determine pollution levels. These are known as historical fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations - for the years 1935, 1950, 1970, 1980, and 1990.

They combined these historical findings with contemporary modelled data from 2001 to estimate life course exposure in the 70-year-old volunteers.

They were part of the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936 study, a group of individuals who were born in 1936 and took part in the Scottish Mental Survey of 1947.

Since 1999, researchers have been working with the Lothian Birth Cohorts to chart how a person's thinking power changes over their lifetime.

The team say this was the first study to examine cognitive decline and how it is linked to air pollution by using a long-term cohort study.

They say future work should be done to look at the link between air pollution and cognitive decline throughout the average lifespan of a human group.

'The modelled historical air pollution data need to be refined and harmonised across different time points, and these data used to provide a robust estimate of life course exposure,' the authors wrote in their paper.

'But we believe that we have demonstrated the feasibility and value of this approach,' they added.

Dr Kohlhaas said that while the study didn't go into the effects of air pollution on developing dementia, it did look at the link between pollution and thinking.

'From this one study alone, we cannot link exposure to air pollution in childhood to any meaningful change between the ages of 11 and 70 years,' she said.

'However, this research does demonstrate that using historical data to study large scale affects like this in relation to brain health is feasible.'

'We must do all we can to help reduce the number of people who will go on to develop memory and thinking problems in future and that’s why Alzheimer’s Research UK has launched the Think Brain Health campaign as a first step.'

The study is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and in the Handbook on Air Pollution.

This Legal Hurdle Could Trip Up Biden’s Cancellation of Keystone XL Pipeline

A lawsuit from across the northern U.S. border over the Biden administration’s halting of an oil pipeline could hang on a Supreme Court ruling against the Trump administration related to the southern border.

In his first day in office, President Joe Biden canceled construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, an action projected to wipe out 11,000 jobs, including 8,000 union jobs.

Biden’s move reversed President Donald Trump’s executive action in early 2017 clearing the way for construction of the 1,200-mile pipeline from Alberta, Canada, through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska. The project already had begun in Canada.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney threatened legal action against the Biden administration, calling cancellation of the project a “gut punch” and “insult” to Canada.

Alberta-based TC Energy Corp. did not respond to inquiries for this story from The Daily Signal, but said in a recent press release: “TC Energy will review the decision, assess its implications, and consider its options.”

A recent Supreme Court case that may provide guidance is Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California. In a 5-4 decision last June, the justices ruled that the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act by doing away with an Obama administration policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.

The key similarity is the concept of “reliance interest,” GianCarlo Canaparo, a legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. The phrase is mentioned several times in the high court’s opinion in the DACA case.

President Barack Obama’s executive action, which allowed illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors to stay legally under certain circumstances, created an expectation among people in the country. Thus, if the U.S. government wanted to scrap the DACA policy, it would have to go through an administrative procedure.

This created a “reliance interest” in the policy, the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts said.

TC Energy and the Canadian government likely also would have a reliance interest, said Canaparo, who has been researching potential legal avenues for the pipeline case:

In DHS v. Regents, the court found that Trump couldn’t rescind DACA even though it was an executive action, because there was a reliance interest. That could be a stumbling block for Biden with regard to the Keystone pipeline. … The administration did not consider any reliance interest.

Just as Obama’s DACA stated that certain people could live and work in the United States, Trump’s go-ahead for Keystone XL instituted a right to build a pipeline across the Canadian-U.S. border, Canaparo said. Both policies, according to court precedent, “created rights” that require the government to go through a procedure to undo, he said.

“Those rights were snatched away and the Biden administration did not consider the reliance interests of TC Energy, the Canadian government, or Alberta,” Canaparo said. “The administration also did not provide a stated purpose for the decision. You could say it was to reduce carbon emissions. But the oil will still be transported by train or truck.”

The majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s ruling noted that some DACA recipients had enrolled in degree programs, started careers, opened businesses, and bought homes. This crossed from being an emotional appeal to being a legal argument, because those persons took such actions in reliance on government policy.

Similarly, TC Energy issued at least six contracts and was set to employ 11,000 for the $8 billion construction of the pipeline to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from oil sands in Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska. From there, the pipeline would connect with another Keystone pipeline that runs south to the Gulf Coast.

The Supreme Court kept DACA in place, for the interim, while stating that the Department of Homeland Security has the authority to rescind the amnesty policy.

The high court didn’t rule on the legality of Obama’s policy, only that the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act in ending it. The justices also said Trump’s DHS was “arbitrary and capricious” for not providing a compelling reason for the policy change.

Congress passed the Administrative Procedure Act in 1946, after World War II, to recognize that the executive branch might have to take emergency action without congressional approval. Congress, however, wanted guidelines in place.

In a 2009 case, FCC v. Fox Television Stations, the Supreme Court established detailed guidelines for judicial review of a change in a government standard, according to a Congressional Research Service report. Among these guidelines is that the change cannot be an “unexplained inconsistency.”

The high court’s 2009 ruling also said that an agency would be required to provide a “more detailed justification” for a change in policy in some instances, including when a previous policy has “engendered serious reliance interests that must be taken into account.” The court determined that it would be “arbitrary and capricious” to “ignore” or “disregard” such matters.

In its 2016 opinion in Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, the Supreme Court determined that “serious reliance interests are at stake” when the Labor Department altered its statutory interpretation of a rule without a “reasoned explanation.” The agency’s move came after decades of “industry reliance” on an existing policy, the court said.

In addition to suing the Biden administration in federal court, TC Energy could launch a case under a provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement. A NAFTA provision called Chapter 11 allows companies in the United States, Mexico, or Canada to challenge decisions by one of the three nations. The provision was grandfathered into the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaced NAFTA, until 2023.

A complaint by TC Energy about the pipeline cancellation under Chapter 11 could provide more neutral ground, Mark Warner, an international trade lawyer at MAAW Law in Toronto, told the Financial Post.

“They could file a complaint under the old Chapter 11 and make a case that this was arbitrary and a denial of due process,” Warner told the Post.

The energy company was going to launch both a Chapter 11 complaint under NAFTA and a federal lawsuit in 2016, but dropped both after Trump approved the pipeline project, the Post reported.

Australia: Queensland Premier under pressure to approve New Acland coal mine

Pressure is mounting from both sides of politics on the Palaszczuk Government to step in and approve the long-delayed New Acland coal mine expansion with hundreds of jobs on the line.

There are calls urging the State Government create new laws protect and push forward with the mine’s expansion, as the Bligh Government did in 2007 with the Xstrata Wollombi mine.

It follows the High Court sending the controversial case back to the Land Court for reconsideration, despite the saga having lasted almost 14 years.

There are fears continued delays could scare off international companies looking to invest in resources projects in Queensland.

But the Oakey Coal Action Alliance, behind the court challenges, say they will continue to fight to “protect water and land … for future generations”.

There are 125 jobs on the line, with the existing operations nearing their end later this year, while the project’s proponents say $7 billion and 450 direct jobs will be created if it goes ahead.

New Hope, the company behind the mine, is seeking an urgent meeting with the Palaszczuk Government, with its CEO Reinhold Schmidt saying the departments had all the information they needed to make a decision.

“What we need from the Government is a road map for how we get the project up and running because more delays equates to more job losses,” he said.

Federal Labor MP Shayne Newman and Senator Anthony Chisholm renewed their consistent calls the state to act to sign off on the project. Senator Chisholm said a solution was urgently needed in the economic circumstances. “I have been consistent for years now urging for a solution to be found so that jobs aren’t lost,” he said.

Mr Neumann said urged the Palaszczuk Government to do everything it could to facilitate the expansion. “There’s billions of dollars and hundreds of jobs on the line here,” he said

Federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt said it was a classic example of activists using courts to delay projects, but there were options available to the State Government to resolve the issue.

“There is an opportunity for Annastacia Palaszczuk to follow the lead of her predecessor Anna Bligh who introduced legislation in 2007 to protect Xstrata’s Wollombi coal mine and the 190 jobs it provided,” he said.

LNP Senator Paul Scarr, who has a business background in developing mining projects overseas, said the ongoing case sent a terrible message to investors. “If this is the result of the Queensland mining approval process, then the system is broken,” he said.

Acting Premier Steven Miles said the government would be looking at the High Court decision closely and consult with the department. “We’ll abide by the court decision,” he said.

New Acland mine worker Andy Scouller said he feared there would be more redundancies coming. “There is life after mining but I guess the frustrating part is that we’re a viable business and employ a lot of people here who contribute to society, and that’s just all going to be wiped out basically with the stroke of a pen,” he said.

The High Court on Monday unanimously ruled that the future of the site’s stage three expansion go back to the Land Court for reconsideration, despite what one judge referred to as “the unfortunate history of this appeal”.

The initial hearing in the Land Court was held five years ago, with a new directions hearing set for February 11.

The first hearing lasted 100 sitting days spread over more than a year in what Justice James Edelman referred to in today’s judgment as “the longest hearing in the history of that court”.

The judgement was made on the basis that previous appeals had been impacted by the apprehension of bias from an earlier judgment.




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