Blue Carbon: The Role of Healthy Oceans in Binding Carbon

This report assesses the under appreciated role of marine ecosystems in sequestering carbon. It is an effort to highlight the value of the ocean’s “vegetated habitats” as carbon sinks, much as forests have been valued on land. The report also highlights the threats to these important ecosystems and encourages quick action to protect and restore them. It was published by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) just prior to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009. The UNEP is the United Nations’ authority on environmental issues. The United Nations is an international organization made up of 192 countries, nearly every sovereign nation in the world.
Significant conclusions:

• Over half the carbon sequestered by photosynthetic activity on Earth is via marine organisms.
• Marine ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marshes, and sea grass beds play a critical role in offsetting fossil fuel emissions.
• Governments should create a “Blue Carbon” fund to invest in the maintenance and rehabilitation of marine ecosystems for carbon sequestration and storage.

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