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US, China Make Historic Agreement on Greenhouse Emissions. For the first time, China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, according to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), has given a firm target date for reductions in its emissions as part of a historic agreement with the U.S. China announced that its emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, will peak in 2030 at the latest. Meanwhile, the U.S. has made a significant commitment to cut its emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025—a target close to double its prior commitments for the 2005 to 2020 period. “Opponents of ambitious greenhouse gas targets often cited Chinese inaction as an excuse for U.S. inaction, arguing that America could not address the problem on its own and should therefore not act unilaterally,” said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner. “This climate agreement represents what many members of Congress said was an essential precondition for stronger U.S. commitment on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” The U.S. cuts will be achieved through multiple measures enumerated in President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan released last year. Renewable and low-carbon energy will play a key role in China, representing 20 percent of China’s energy production by 2030. The U.S. and China will expand cooperation in joint clean energy research and development; carbon capture, use and storage demonstrations; hydrofluorocarbon reductions; launch of a climate-smart/low-carbon cities initiative; trade in green goods; and on-the-ground demonstrations of clean energy.


China, UK Companies to Build New Maritime Silk Road. China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC), based in Beijing, China, and Atkins Group, based in Epsom, England, have signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement in Guangzhou, China, to cooperate in depth on infrastructure development, planning and design in order to jointly develop an exchange and cooperation platform of the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road.” This is intended to foster closer economic and trade ties among China and countries in Europe and Asia, further regional exchanges and cooperation, and coordinate domestic and international development.


Aerial Imagery-Sonar Acoustic Survey Combo for Atlantic Bluefin Stock Assessment. A new NOAA grant will allow fisheries oceanographer Molly Lutcavage, director of the Large Pelagics Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Gloucester Marine Research Station, with postdoctoral fellow Angelia Vanderlaan and colleagues, to design, conduct and analyze the first autonomous aerial vehicle surveys of Atlantic bluefin tuna to provide fishery-independent regional estimates of their numbers. The team will develop new analytical techniques to estimate the size and number of individuals within surface schools of the most important commercial tuna species in the Atlantic. The goal is to combine high-resolution, aerial imagery from an unmanned aerial vehicle—the hexacopter WASABI (Water Imaging Aerial Surveying Automated Biological Instrument)—with sonar acoustic surveys to improve the quality of Atlantic bluefin tuna stock assessments. WASABI will hover over schools of tuna, allowing researchers to photograph and later count individuals in the group. The researchers will collaborate with “Wicked Tuna” TV stars Captain Bill “Hollywood” Muniz and Mark Brochu.


Howard Fireman Receives David W. Taylor Medal. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) awarded its highest technical honor, the David W. Taylor Medal for notable achievement in naval architecture or marine engineering, to Howard Fireman, ABS (Houston, Texas) senior vice president of asset performance management. The medal is considered by many to be the crowning professional achievement for a naval architect and marine engineer. Fireman’s “insight and guidance in design and energy efficiency are valued by the industry in great part because of his ability to provide real-world practical solutions,” said ABS Chairman and CEO Christopher J. Wiernicki. Fireman served 35 years in the U.S. Navy. He has a B.S. and M.S. in naval architecture and marine engineering from the University of Michigan and a master’s in technical management from Johns Hopkins University.


Predator ROV Identifies Lost Steamship. Seatronics’s (Aberdeen, Scotland) Predator ROV has successfully verified the identity of the lost treasure liner S.S. Connaught off the Northeast coast of the U.S. The Predator was deployed in a subsea mission organized and led by Endurance Exploration Group Inc. (Clearwater, Florida). The mid-19th century steamship was a 380-foot luxury liner that carried 592 people and 10,000 pounds of gold coins. It suffered a fierce fire during a storm offshore Boston, Massachusetts, in 1860. The passengers and crew were rescued by a small fruit transport vessel. The efforts to find the S.S. Connaught began with a 700-square-mile sonar search and concluded with the deployment of the Predator, which was able to clearly identify the ship’s iron hull, paddlewheels and artifacts within the debris field.


FPrize for Ocean Energy Open to Applications. The ocean energy pioneers of tomorrow have been offered the chance to compete for a week of free testing—worth £38,000—at FloWave. The FloWave Prize—or FPrize—is aimed at young researchers, studying for Ph.D.s and beyond, to compete for their new marine energy ideas to be tested at scale in the FloWave tank. Applicants are to submit a two-page initial proposal to FloWave by January 31. The final decision will be announced next summer. FloWave is the only test facility of its kind in the world. At a nominal one-twentieth scale, FloWave can create scale waves equivalent to more than 14 meters and currents faster than 14 knots and has a test area equivalent to more than 2 square kilometers of ocean to test the effects of multiple devices together and in realistic project layouts.

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