Insight: Coastal blue carbon: Why should we care?

Daniel Murdiyarso,
Bogor, West Java | Mon, November 7 2016

Delegates are gathering for the 22nd session of a climate conference in Marrakech, Morocco, from Nov. 7 to 18. It is interesting to note that after so many years, oceans will be part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) agenda. Why oceans? Why now?

Do oceans and seas have anything to do with the global climate? As a maritime continent with more than 90,000 kilometers of coastline, Indonesia has a lot of reasons to be concerned with the ocean agenda.

Coastal blue carbon is known as the carbon stored in tidal wetland ecosystems, which includes tidally influenced forests, mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass meadows. It is kept within soil, living biomass and non-living biomass carbon pools.

Coastal blue carbon is a subset of blue carbon that also includes ocean blue carbon, which represents carbon stored in open ocean carbon pools.

Coastal wetland ecosystems are the most effective carbon storehouse on earth. They are capable of capturing and storing excessive atmospheric carbon with burial rates 20 times larger than any terrestrial ecosystems, including boreal and tropical forests. However, coastal wetlands are among the most threatened natural ecosystems.

Greenhouse gas emissions due to unsustainable coastal development are up to 1 billion tons per annum, 20 percent of the emissions from global deforestation. Indonesia, where almost a quarter of the world’s mangroves reside, contributes one-fifth (200 million tons CO2-eq) of its national emissions — an amount equal to 40 million fewer cars on the roads.

The sediment-trapping capacity of coastal blue carbon when restored and protected properly would facilitate these ecosystems to play an important role as “land builders”, a kind of ecosystem service that has never been monetized, in the face of a 1-meter sea level rise by the end of this century.

Oceans, along with marine and coastal resources, play an essential role in the well-being of people who live in coastal zones. In Indonesia, 60 percent of the population lives in coastal zones and globally it is around 37 percent. Coastal and marine resources contribute an estimated $28 trillion to the global economy each year through ecosystem services.

According to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report, however, those resources are extremely vulnerable to environmental degradation, overfishing, climate change and pollution. Its 14th goal, SDG 14 “Life below water”, is to conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

One of the targets of SDG 14 is that by 2020 marine and coastal ecosystems should be sustainably managed, protected and restored to achieve healthy and productive oceans. We are nowhere near close enough to this target. In contrast, these ecosystems are disappearing very rapidly.

A new global climate treaty, the Paris Agreement, was adopted in December 2015. Its central aim is to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1. 5 degrees C.

The agreement requires all parties to put forward their best efforts through nationally determined contributions (NDCs) and to report regularly on their emissions and implementation efforts. Considering the potential of blue carbon to mitigate climate change, it is timely that blue carbon should be part of the national climate strategy.

In response to the new climate treaty, the International Partnership for Blue Carbon (IPBC) was established and participated in by a large number of countries, including Indonesia and various organizations. The momentum to work together to use the opportunities is ripe.

Blue carbon has huge potential for climate change mitigation and adaption. Mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) and Joint Mitigation and Adaptation (JMA) should be utilized to enhance the resilience of coastal ecosystems and communities to cope with the changing climate and rising sea levels.

As far as the agreement is concerned, the financial arrangements may be consulted with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through the Nationally Designated Authority (NDA). A number of accredited entities have been approved by the GCF’s board to implement the programs and projects at various levels. The trick is knowing what modern thinking about short story rules suggests and then deciding for yourself which rules to break and which to www.justdomyhomework.com follow.

There are also a range of initiatives and like-minded groups, such as the Blue Carbon Initiative from Conservational International (CI), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), as well as the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Blue Carbon Initiative, which are ready to lend their hands for capacity development purposes. They may be engaged in joint restoration and protection efforts.

Further steps need to be taken to improve the accountability of measurement, reporting and verification efforts in national communication and project development.

Blue carbon science is advancing to support policymakers with credible scientific information to make sound decisions relating to the sustainable use of coastal and marine resources. Scientists from research organizations and universities are continuously improving their understanding, hence reducing uncertainties around the fate of blue carbon.

At the Marrakech COP 22, where oceans will for the first time be part of the agenda, Indonesian delegates should strive to pave the way to meet common goals for humanity.

The suffering planet earth and vulnerable coastal communities cannot wait any longer for strong and ambitious decisions related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, of which blue carbon is an important component.
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The writer is a professor at the Department of Geophysics and Meteorology at the Bogor Agriculture University (IPB), principal scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), member of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) and former national focal point to the UNFCCC.
sumber:
1. http://www. thejakartapost. com/news/2016/11/07/insight-coastal-blue-carbon-why-should-we-care. html
2. http://blog. cifor. org/46249/cop22-special-why-should-we-care-about-coastal-blue-carbon?fnl=en

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