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Top Sustainability News #6 - Blue Carbon

Alexandre Risser
You don't want to miss out on the latest news related to carbon markets and sustainable development. This week we have prepared a special edition focusing on the Blue Carbon. Find out our Top Sustainability News linked to Blue Carbon!

Blue carbon: How three Australian marine sites lock away 2bn tonnes of CO2”

Blue carbon is a rising topic. But what is blue carbon? 
“Mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows around the world are known to have vast stores of carbon that have been accumulating for thousands of years. If left undisturbed, the carbon stays locked away in sediments.” As a result, the most significant stock of blue carbon is held by the Great Barrier Reef, with more than 1.8bn tCO2e. “The carbon stored in Australia’s marine world heritage sites equates to roughly four years of annual greenhouse gas emissions by the country, as distinct from globally.” However, human activities and global warming are progressively threatening the carbon stock. 
In addition, some researchers suggest that these ocean ecosystems could  absorb CO2 about 30 times faster than rainforests.
So, how can we preserve those ecosystems? We have seen the development of REDD+ projects to protect the carbon stored in threatened forests; what about creating REDD+ projects for the protection of oceans? Australia is already working on a methodology to issue blue carbon and allow organizations to participate in protecting the ocean. 

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New study improves marine climate change evidence base

Science is essential to create momentum, regroup the actors around the same cause, and potentially lead to political actions. The various researches made on climate change have progressively pushed countries to act together for global interest,  by creating the IPCC or the Conference of Parties. In this case, the study published by Scientists from the University of St Andrews and Marine Scotland have highlighted Oceans' potential and the emergency to protect them. This research has defined a methodological framework that could help map worldwide the carbon in shelf sea sediments. This study provides a holistic approach to the potential carbon stocked within shelf sea sediments of the wide Exclusive Economic Zone of the United-Kingdom. This study has regrouped high amounts of data to have a significantly precise carbon stocked approach. "To overcome the issues encountered by earlier studies, nearly 275,000 data points were compiled describing the sediment type on the seabed and allowing the creation of a bespoke high-resolution map of the UK EEZ seabed." 
As we know, data is key, so we hope that this new research can lead to further research and can play a role for better political decision-making when it comes to ocean conservation. 

"Dear President Biden: Don’t Forget the Ocean on Earth Day!"

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an American NGO, formed a working group and called President Biden to take action to preserve Oceans. They mention the necessity to have international discussions and push two majors topics. "The adoption of new global biodiversity targets at the October meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CB) in Kunming, China, and the scheduled final session of negotiations at the United Nations to develop an international treaty to strengthen our ability to protect biodiversity in the ocean beyond national jurisdiction." 
Indeed, the main issue is the lack of jurisdiction in high-seas, which represents two-thirds of the ocean's total surface. Protection of the oceans appears to be a priority, and current solutions exist; however, we need to go beyond the initiatives that are carried out by NGOs, and form international agreements to protect ocean ecosystems efficiently. 

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To summarize  this special edition focused on blue carbon, we realize that Oceans have a high carbon storage potential. Climate change and human activities are threatening those ecosystems. The lack of international jurisdiction does not prevent destruction. Scientific researches are essential to building a consensus around the need to protect Oceans and bind countries within an international treaty to start to make joint decisions and implement initiatives to protect them. 
Using the Voluntary Carbon Market to preserve the carbon stored under the sea appears to be a potential solution. Would you contribute to the protection of marine ecosystems that store carbon by purchasing blue carbon credits? 
Article written by Alexandre Risser