Marine Newsletter #3 – January 2010

Highlights from the Marine Programme at GRID-Arendal for January 2010:

1. Featured Project

Global Assessment of Methane Gas Hydrates
GRID-Arendal is, together with several partner institutions, undertaking a global assessment of methane gas hydrates. The 2008 United Nations Environment Programme Annual Report highlighted methane from the Arctic as an emerging challenge with respect to climate change and other environmental issues. Building upon this foundation, the proposed project aims to provide a multi-thematic overview of the key aspects of
the current methane hydrate debate for both the land-based Arctic deposits and those in the marine environment. Methane gas hydrates have already attracted the attention of governments and industry as a potential “transitional” energy source between a high-carbon and low or no carbon economy. However, as with any new potential resource development, there are several inherent environmental and socio-economic issues that need evaluating.

The Global Assessment of Methane Gas Hydrates seeks to:

  • link the work of the scientific community with decision makers at the regional, national and even local scales in order to promote a best practices approach to policy making in relation to the potential development of resources.
  • promote a “development for environment” principle whereby the environment and its services are deemed an integral part of the resource development cycle.
  • promote international cooperation on methane gas hydrate development by integrating all the major global research groups and their supporting governments.

The first meeting of the Steering Committee for this project will take place in Arendal, 04-05 March.

2. Events

Recent events
Seminars/meetings/conferences where representatives from the Marine Programme have participated:

  • Meeting with representatives from the Aust-Agder County Administration, the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) and the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket), Arendal, 19 January – discussing issues related to the Trans Skagerrak marine protected area.
  • Interagency review meeting for the forthcoming Rapid Response Assessment report on waste water at UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya, 19-23 January.

Upcoming events

  • 3-5 February

Paris, France: First Expert Group Meeting of the Large Marine Ecosystems Water System, and First Expert Group Meeting of the Open Oceans Water System, under the Transboundary Waters Assessment Programme (TWAP). The main objective of TWAP is to develop transboundary waters assessment methodologies for the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) in setting priorities and catalyse a partnership for conducting such a global assessment. GRID-Arendal is participating as an institutional partner in TWAP and will contribute to the discussions of both groups.

  • 03-05 February

Tokyo, Japan: Meetings with officials from the Japanese Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation to discuss the Global Assessment of Methane Gas Hydrates project, and with the data group of the Japanese Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) to determine if more recent Japanese data would be available for continental shelf issues in the South Pacific.

  • 8-19 February

Sydney, Australia: Workshop organised in collaboration between Geoscience Australia, the Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission (SOPAC) and the UNEP Shelf Programme (GRID-Arendal) – providing technical support to 6 Pacific Island States working to complete their full submissions delineating the outer limits of their continental shelf.

  • 14-19 February

Bangkok, Thailand: 37th Session of the Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) meeting.

3. Other

Did you know that…
…the total amount of carbon in the ocean is about 50 times greater than the amount in the atmosphere?
…at least 1/2 of the oxygen we breathe comes from the photosynthesis of marine plants?

Our favorite website of the month

Ocean Climate:

Thursday 04 Feb 2010