Momentum for nature’s ‘blue carbon’ solution to climate change

02 April 2013 | News story

Efforts to restore marine ecosystems that store vast amounts of carbon have received a boost with the launch of a new website that provides the latest blue carbon science and policy.

Coastal ecosystems are some of the most productive on Earth. They provide essential services such as protection from storms and nursery grounds for fish. By storing ‘blue’ carbon from the atmosphere and oceans, they are an essential part of the solution to climate change.

“Our knowledge and action to maintain and restore coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrasses have increased significantly in the last two years,” says Dorothée Herr, IUCN's Coordinator of the International Blue Carbon Initiative, of which IUCN is a partner.

“Several efforts are under way to further improve the management responses we can take to make costal ecosystems one of the solutions to reducing climate change,” she adds.

This week sees the launch of the International Blue Carbon Initiative’s new website. The initiative, which focuses on mitigating climate change through the conservation and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems, is a collaboration between IUCN, Conservation International and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization. www.thebluecarboninitiative.org.

The website provides up-to-date information on the Initiative’s scientific and policy working groups, a general overview of blue carbon science and policy, as well as a compilation of existing field projects led by many partner organisations around the world. It will also foster greater collaboration and coordination within the global blue carbon community.

As part of wider climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is organizing a workshop later this year on the technical and scientific aspects of ecosystems with high-carbon reservoirs such as coastal marine ecosystems.

“This is an encouraging step on the international policy front to ensure coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems are appropriately integrated into global mitigation activities,” says Dorothée.

In parallel to international discussions, many field projects are continuously gathering new information from the ground and have started to stimulate management responses. A new report Profiles in Blue Carbon Field Work shows that a global community of scientists, policy makers and stakeholders is rallying around the concept of blue carbon as a nature-based tool to help mitigate global climate change.

The International Blue Carbon Initiative’s website can be viewed under the following link: http://thebluecarboninitiative.org/

For more information contact:
Dorothée Herr Dorothee.herr@iucn.org