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Introduction to blue carbon ecosystems

  • Cara Howse
    Research Associate
  • Dr Nick Atkinson
    Chief Science Officer
Blue carbon is carbon sequestered and stored in marine and coastal ecosystems (such as mangroves, tidal salt marshes, seagrass meadows, etc). These ecosystems store around two to four times more carbon than terrestrial ecosystems - and are consistently highly rated by BeZero Carbon - yet have been continuously exploited and polluted.

Legislation has recently been enacted to protect, restore, and conserve these ecosystems, including the 30 x 30 agreement and the High Seas Treaty. These agreements have the potential to conserve large areas of coastal and marine ecosystems by 2030. However, funding is currently lacking in this area. Markets have the potential to finance these ecosystems through blue carbon credits or the creation of biodiversity/nature credits.

Here are some key takeaways from the report

  • Two out of the five top-rated projects on the BeZero Carbon Ratings (BCR) framework are blue carbon projects. Blue carbon ecosystems, such as mangroves or seagrass, provide ecosystem services and functions, such as food and shelter, for humans and other species. 

  • New legislation has been enacted to protect 30% of the world's land and ocean by 2030. This legislation enables the protection of marine biodiversity in the world’s oceans, facilitating the storage of carbon dioxide. 

  • Financing mechanisms for blue carbon include the voluntary carbon market, sovereign carbon credits, and nascent biodiversity markets. Undeveloped monitoring and assessment systems for blue carbon have stifled investment to date. 

Contents

  • 01 Introduction

  • 02 Examples of blue carbon habitats

  • 03 New legislation to protect oceans

  • 04 What are the means of funding restoration and conservation?

  • 05 Conclusion

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