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"

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.
Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Japan's big new climate goal

Climate protest in Tokyo in November 2019. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan's new prime minister said on Monday the nation will seek to become carbon neutral by 2050, a move that will require huge changes in its fossil fuel-heavy energy mix in order to succeed.

Why it matters: Japan is the world's fifth-largest source of carbon emissions. The new goal announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is stronger than the country's previous target of becoming carbon neutral as early as possible in the latter half of the century.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

The art and business of political polling

The election is just eight days away, and it’s not just the candidates whose futures are on the line. Political pollsters, four years after wrongly predicting a Hillary Clinton presidency, are viewing it as their own judgment day.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the polls, and what pollsters have changed since 2016, with former FiveThirtyEight writer and current CNN politics analyst Harry Enten.

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