Seascape Carbon Initiative to Help Provide Fifth of World’s Needed Emissions Cuts (1)

— Blue – the new green

BY MATHEW CARR

Sept. 5, 2021 (LONDON) — A project seeks to develop carbon crediting methodologies to quantify and verify programs to boost the absorption of heat-trapping gas by the oceans and help drive critical finance to them.

The oceans are already being seen a major of provider of renewable energy.

“Activities like kelp and seaweed farming, seabed management, sustainable fishing, and conserving and restoring seagrass meadows, salt marshes, and mangroves can reduce or remove from the atmosphere more than one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and restore degraded oceans,” according to a statement by Verra, which administers the Verified Carbon Standard, one of the biggest carbon crediting programs in the world. Verra will serve as the initiative’s independent standard-setter — see press release below, links in pics.

“Seascape management has tremendous potential to help tackle climate change while helping to protect our oceans. Crediting these activities through robust carbon accounting methodologies could drastically scale up finance to help save the oceans and the climate,” said David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer for Verra.

One billion metric tons is about 2% of needed emission cuts, yet oceans can provide a big portion of the world’s needed cuts of about 50 billion tons a year – more than one fifth — see this:

https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/SBSTA_Ocean_Dialogue_SummaryReport.pdf
see link in chart above

Incentives for blue carbon are happening under the UN and via various multilateral development banks and funds, not just under private-sector programs such as that administered by Verra.

Example of country seeking finance via Green Climate Fund:

Belize was among the first countries to seek Green Climate Fund readiness financing
with a focus on climate-resilient fisheries. Belize intends to scale up actions in line with its nationally determined contribution, which will also address new coastal wetlands targets. It is also one of six countries
collaborating on a proposal to the GEF for a large marine ecosystem project in the Caribbean to promote blue economic priorities through integrated coastal zone management, mainstreaming biodiversity across sectors, and catalysing climate-resilient fisheries. See page 28, here: https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/SBSTA_Ocean_Dialogue_SummaryReport.pdf

From Belize’s updated climate pledge dated Sept. 1, see this:

https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/ndcstaging/PublishedDocuments/Belize%20First/Belize%20Updated%20NDC.pdf
see link in image above

Press release from Verra is here:

Seascape Carbon Initiative to Help Restore Oceans, Reverse Climate Change

30 August 2021

Aims to support blue carbon activities such as kelp farming and sustainable fisheries

Scientists have known for decades that healthy oceans are vital to meeting the climate challenge – and that their health is in steep decline. These ecological systems are on the brink of collapse, with unsustainable fishing practices, coastal development, pollution, and impacts from climate change degrading oceans and releasing carbon.

Activities like kelp and seaweed farming, seabed management, sustainable fishing, and conserving and restoring seagrass meadows, salt marshes, and mangroves can reduce or remove from the atmosphere more than one billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually and restore degraded oceans.

But assessing and bringing these impacts to scale has proven elusive – until now.

Launched today, the Seascape Carbon Initiative (SCI) aims to catalyze research on seascape carbon activities, develop carbon crediting methodologies to quantify and verify their impacts, and help drive critical finance to them.

In addition to addressing emissions, these activities provide environmental and social benefits such as improved ocean health, increased biodiversity, healthy fisheries, and lower ocean acidification.

“Seascape management has tremendous potential to help tackle climate change while helping to protect our oceans. Crediting these activities through robust carbon accounting methodologies could drastically scale up finance to help save the oceans and the climate,” said David Antonioli, Chief Executive Officer for Verra.

The initiative convenes leaders from the scientific and NGO communities:

  • Blue Carbon Initiative brings together governments, research institutions, NGOs, and communities to mitigate climate change through the restoration and sustainable use of coastal and marine ecosystems.
  • Blue Marine Foundation creates marine protected areas, develops models of sustainable fishing, confronts unsustainable fishing, restores marine habitats and connects people with the sea.
  • Oceans 2050’s mission is to mobilize a global alliance to restore the world’s marine life to its former abundance by 2050.
  • Silvestrum Climate Associates addresses the challenges of climate change by nurturing sustainable development that is grounded in science, action oriented, and community driven.

Verra administers the Verified Carbon Standard, the world’s leading carbon crediting program, and will serve as the initiative’s independent standard-setter.

Link: https://verra.org/seascape-carbon-initiative-to-help-restore-oceans-reverse-climate-change/

(Adds elements from Belize’s “climate pledge” published Sept. 1)

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