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Thursday, February 29, 2024
HomeSeafoodSeeking to the oceans for solutions to the local weather disaster

Seeking to the oceans for solutions to the local weather disaster

Three new experiences study the potential of blue carbon pathways to behave as pure local weather options.

By Kristin Kleisner, Monica Moritsch and Jamie Collins

To handle the local weather disaster we have to discover each avenue doable, examine progressive options, and even look to the oceans for solutions. The oceans already serve the planet as a large pure carbon sink, however due to local weather change, overfishing and different pressures, we’ve degraded the pure pathways by means of which oceans entice carbon.

Blue Carbon is the carbon that’s captured and saved in marine crops, animals, waters and sediments — and interventions to extend shares of this blue carbon may kind the idea for the subsequent huge pure local weather resolution (NCS).

With funding from the Bezos Earth Fund, the Environmental Protection Fund introduced collectively over 60 researchers from the pure and social sciences and consultants on marine economics, governance and coverage for a collection of workshops to research the magnitude of potential local weather advantages, ecological interactions, and socioeconomic issues for a wide range of blue carbon pure local weather options. The outcome: three new experiences that determine probably the most promising pathways to protect or enhance shares of blue carbon, generate co-benefits for individuals and nature, and safe a greater future for us all. We’re excited to current these experiences that present an summary of the state of the science on blue carbon, and determine challenges and alternatives for outcomes such because the inclusion of blue carbon into nations’ Nationally Decided Contributions (NDCs) and the doable integration of blue carbon into international carbon markets. Under, we break down the primary takeaways from every report.

Promising potentialities for seaweed

The Carbon Sequestration by Seaweed report focuses on three interventions for growing seaweed-based carbon sequestration:

  • Conserving present seaweed forests and restoring forests which have declined
  • Rising productiveness and carbon sequestration efficiency of present seaweed farms through capability constructing
  • Increasing seaweed farming into offshore waters.

With respect to the enlargement of seaweed farms, the report discovered that there are key locations all over the world that provide appropriate situations for increasing seaweed cultivation. For instance, within the U.S. Caribbean and Florida, nearly 80% of the entire space inside 10-100m depth is doubtlessly accessible for seaweed farming or has no conflicts with navigation, pure assets, oceanographic situations. The report additionally notes that enlargement of seaweed farming into offshore waters is maybe probably the most promising solution to enhance C sequestration by seaweeds at a scale that would considerably contribute to local weather stabilization.

The findings additionally emphasize the significance of the outcomes of seaweed. For instance, strategies of straight sinking seaweed into the deep ocean may present a direct and direct local weather end result when it comes to carbon sequestration. Nevertheless, sinking seaweed would preclude technology of different advantages and will entail a number of poorly understood ecological dangers. Pure stands of seaweed and seaweed farms present an essential supply of vitamin and will contribute to the discount of GHG emissions if seaweed is used to make merchandise that may exchange GHG-intensive merchandise like cement, plastics, and fertilizer. It could additionally show doable to feed small quantities of sure seaweed species to ruminants to scale back their methane emissions. Increasing markets for seaweed merchandise to supply local weather advantages may finally end in regenerative options that profit individuals and nature.

The ‘twilight zone’ warrants extra consideration

The Pure Local weather Options within the Open Ocean report explores interventions based mostly on reforming fishing practices to scale back gas emissions and defending fish and marine mammal species which are key to mediating the stream of carbon. The report takes a detailed take a look at one potential intervention based mostly on a hypothetical and much-hyped pathway that has been termed the ocean “whale pump.” This phenomenon is hypothesized to happen when whales feed within the deep ocean after which defecate on the ocean floor, depositing vitamins which will stimulate algal blooms, which might, underneath the best situations, seize and sequester carbon from the ambiance. This sequestration is along with the extra clearly outlined quantity carbon that animals like whales sequester once they die and sink to the ocean flooring. As fascinating and charismatic as this “whale pump” sounds — and whereas there are scores of essential causes to protect and rebuild whale populations —the knowledgeable group famous there could also be restricted potential within the restoration of whale populations as a pure local weather resolution because of poorly understood science, a danger of ethical hazard and the truth that whales are already a protected species in most of the world’s oceans. Nevertheless, the consultants EDF convened recognized extra potential in a a lot much less well-known pathway: the preservation of the ocean’s “twilight zone,” or mesopelagic, ecosystem. Tens of millions of mysterious fishes and different creatures that dwell at depths of 200-1000m beneath the ocean floor migrate up and down within the water column on daily basis, bringing carbon from the floor to the deep, the place it may be locked away for millennia. As a result of the biomass of those species is huge, their position within the carbon pump is probably going huge, even when calculations are based mostly on the low finish of their estimated populations. As demand for seafood from wild seize fisheries and the necessity for fishmeal for aquaculture will increase, it’s extremely probably that this as-of-yet untapped useful resource shall be focused for industrial-scale fishing. Given the excessive stakes for our local weather, we discovered that safety of the twilight zone’s essential blue carbon advantages constitutes an pressing crucial. EDF’s consultants additionally discovered there have been probably huge reductions in present emissions to be realized in lowering fossil gas consumption by international fishing fleets.

An unsure future for nearshore ecosystems

The Coastal Pure Local weather Options report revealed uncertainty across the capacity of some coastal blue carbon ecosystems to sequester carbon, particularly because of local weather change impacts on fragile nearshore programs. This will name into query the flexibility of some nearshore programs to function NCS and to supply sturdy crediting alternatives inside present carbon markets. As well as, the group recognized an pressing must account for emissions from these ecosystems of greenhouse gases (GHGs) apart from carbon dioxide, together with methane and nitrous oxide. Regardless, preservation and restoration of mangroves and tidal marshes will incur huge advantages for livelihoods, coastal safety, and biodiversity — and these co-benefits can’t be neglected.

Wanting forward

EDF and companions are persevering with to discover blue carbon NCS and extra quantitatively consider the local weather and ecosystem advantages these programs may present, in addition to the socio-economic dangers and prices. There may be additionally an effort to grasp the political and cultural feasibility of implementing varied blue carbon NCS in several geographies and contexts. Total, the work so far has illuminated promising pathways, together with the enlargement of seaweed markets for regenerative merchandise which have a decrease GHG footprint and the safety of twilight zone fishes. We hope that the consensus reached through the year-long collection of blue carbon workshops will lower by means of the hype to assist practitioners, standard-setting organizations and people targeted on ocean options to determine pathways the place science presently helps motion, and the place focused analysis investments may spur rising pathways to market readiness.


Learn the experiences:

Go to our interactive website to be taught extra about blue carbon

Be taught extra about EDF’s work on blue carbon


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