A 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)