Jun 20, 2017

Coral reefs are under stress but may be resilient

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.

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Trump to install loyalist Ric Grenell as acting intelligence chief

Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

President Trump confirmed in a tweet Wednesday night that he will install Richard Grenell, the current U.S. ambassador to Germany and a staunch defender of the president, as the acting director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: The role, which was originally vacated by Dan Coats in August 2019, is one of grave responsibility. As acting DNI, Grenell will be charged with overseeing and integrating the U.S. intelligence community and will advise the president and the National Security Council on intelligence matters that concern national security.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

What to watch in the Nevada debate

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Cengiz Yardages and Mario Tama/Getty Images

Michael Bloomberg's wealth will fuel rather than shield him from tests and attacks when he makes his Democratic primary debate debut on the stage tonight in Las Vegas.

The state of play: Bernie Sanders is still the front-runner. So the other candidates must weigh which of the two presents a bigger threat to their viability: Sanders, with his combined delegate, polling and grassroots momentum? Or Bloomberg, with his bottomless budget?

Go deeperArrowUpdated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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