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Bernardo Vargas-Angel/NOAA via AP

Human dependence on coral reefs is far-reaching: One billion people rely on reefs for food or fishing income, per the World Wide Fund for Nature. Tourism to the Florida Reef rakes in over $3 billion each year and coral reefs are on the cutting-edge of medical science, potentially providing proteins to fight HIV. But these reefs are quickly dying.

With the right technology, coral reefs — among the most affected victims of climate change — can be saved, Nexus Media reports. American University environmentalist Kiho Kim told Nexus that much of the damage is reversible if the stress of climate change is removed.

The study: One reef-killer is nitrogen-heavy sewage that is dumped into the ocean in some parts of the world. Kim's team studied the effects of sewage waste on a reef in Guam and found that the skeleton of coral can support the regrowth of polyps if pollution damage is remediated.

The solution: Kim says reefs can bounce back if the stressor, whether that's warmer water or pollution, is addressed. New but expensive technology allows sewage treatment plants to extract damaging nitrogen from waste before dumping it into the ocean. "With the proper accounting, the math generally favors paying to protect the coral reefs and other coastal ecosystems," Kim said.

Go deeper

38 mins ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"