Healthy oceans matter in climate

Blue carbon healthy oceans UNEP reportA new report published by many agencies of the United Nations – including the FAO, the UNEP and the UNESCO – shows that maintaining healthy oceans is a vital topic for climate change mitigation.

Indeed, more than half of the carbon dioxide captured by Nature is captured by oceans and seas. Coastal ecosystems like mangroves forests play a preponderant role in this regard.

Since these particular areas are especially threatened by urban development and may disappear within the very next decades it is high time to tackle this specific issue

Here are some extracts of the report :

This report, produced by some of the world’s leading scientists and  in  collaboration with  the  FAO  and  IOC-UNESCO, fnds that  the most  crucial,  climate-combating  coastal  ecosystems cover less than 0.5% of the sea bed. But they are disappearing faster than anything on land and much may be lost in a couple of decades.

These areas, covering features such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses, are responsible for capturing and storing up to some 70% of the carbon permanenty stored in the marine realm.

(…) Out of all  the biological carbon  (or green carbon) captured  in the world, over half (55%) is captured by marine living organisms – not on  land – hence  it  is called blue carbon. Continually increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to climate change.

Many countries, including  those  going  through  periods  of  rapid  growth,  are increasing  their  emissions  of  brown  and  black  carbon  (such as CO2 and soot) as a  result of  rapid economic development. Along with increased emissions, natural ecosystems are being degraded, reducing their ability to absorb CO2.

This loss of capacity is equivalent to one to two times that of the annual emissions from the entire global transport sector.

Maintaining  or  improving  the  ability  of  forests  and  oceans to absorb and bury CO2  is a crucial aspect of climate change mitigation. The contribution of forests in sequestering carbon is well  known  and  is  supported  by  relevant fnancial mechanisms. In contrast, the critical role of the oceans has been overlooked.

The aim of this report is to highlight the vital contribution of the oceans in reducing atmospheric CO2 levels through sequestration and also through reducing the rate of marine and coastal ecosystem degradation. It also explores the options for developing a fnancial structure for managing the contribution oceans make  to  reducing CO2  levels,  including  the  effectiveness of an ocean based CO2 reduction scheme.

To learn out more, please download the full report available at the official website (pdf format, 40 Mb)

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