Apr 4, 2020 - Science

Saving the oceans for the future

A humpback whale dives. Photo: M Swiet Productions

A new scientific review published in Nature found that marine life has been rebounding in recent years, thanks to conservation efforts, and the oceans could be fully restored by midcentury.

Why it matters: The oceans cover almost two-thirds of the Earth's surface, yet for too long we've treated the waters as a dumping ground.

The oceans are not in great shape. Coral reefs are bleaching, fish are being fished out and microplastics are spoiling the water. Despite that ill treatment, the oceans are more resilient than we thought — and humans have helped.

  • Researchers found that the proportion of marine species threatened with extinction dropped from 18% in 2000 to 11.4% in 2019, thanks in part to conservation efforts.
  • The review authors reported that oceans could be fully restored by 2050 by focusing on rebuilding marine habitats and fighting climate change.

The bottom line: Saving the oceans won't be cheap — the study scientists estimate it could cost $10 billion–$20 billion a year. But the benefits could be 10 times that much, and might just be priceless.

Go deeper: Plastics are "potentially everywhere"

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Mark Zuckerberg: Social networks should not be "the arbiter of truth"

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued on CNBC's "Squawk Box" Thursday that social media platforms should not police political speech, and that "people should be able to see what politicians say.”

Why it matters: Zuckerberg was responding to Twitter's decision this week to fact-check a pair of President Trump's tweets that claimed that mail-in ballots are "substantially fraudulent." Twitter's label, which directs users to "get the facts" about mail-in voting, does not censor Trump's tweets.

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — worse than the initially estimated 4.8% contraction — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

1 hour ago - Economy & Business