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Expand chart
Recreated from DNV; Note: Estimates begin after 2018, the most recent year with complete data; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

The evolution of ocean-based industries — the "blue economy" — will include a huge increase in demand for marine areas for wind turbines, a new report finds.

The big picture: The advisory and risk management firm DNV is out with detailed analyses of ocean industries in the coming decades.

What they found: The report estimates that by 2050, about 368,000 square kilometers of ocean surface will be used for the production of energy and food, compared to about 40,000 three years ago.

  • "This represents a more than nine-fold increase in demand for ocean space, and hints at the tremendous challenge for Marine Spatial Planning in some parts of the world."
  • Offshore wind represents the lion's share of the growth, while aquaculture expands, too.

The intrigue: Today 80% of capital expenditures on ocean industries are in the oil-and-gas sector. That's slated to drop as offshore oil and eventually gas production decline significantly by midcentury while wind production surges.

  • "By 2050 the picture is radically different with offshore wind accounting for 50% of capex, and oil and gas will have shrunk to 25%."
  • Another shift: Aquaculture (fish farming) production is projected to double by 2050, approaching wild catches as the latter declines due to overfishing and climate change.

Go deeper: Read DNV's entire analysis

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated Jan 13, 2022 - Science

A vast new ocean sanctuary

Northern rockhopper penguins on Gough Island in the Tristan da Cunha chain. Photo: Auscape/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The waters around the remote inhabited island of Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic are set to become the world's fourth-largest marine sanctuary.

The big picture: Currently less than 3% of the world's ocean area is fully protected from human activity, compared to 13% of the world's much smaller land mass. With the oceans coming under increasing pressure from fishing, pollution and climate change, expanding true marine sanctuaries is more important than ever.

Updated 13 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.

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