Coastal Blue Carbon: Climate and Coastal Resilience National and International Policy Opportunities

Tuesday, 16 December 2014: 10:35 AM
Ariana Sutton-Grier1,2 and Amanda McCarty1, (1)NOAA Washington DC, Silver Spring, MD, United States, (2)University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD, United States
There is growing interest nationally and internationally in leveraging the carbon benefits (termed “blue carbon”) of coastal habitats in climate and coastal resilience policies. Coastal wetlands (specifically mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrass meadows) have unique characteristics that make them incredibly efficient, natural carbon sinks with most carbon stored belowground in soils. Protecting and restoring these ecosystems around the globe will help maintain all the societal benefits these ecosystems provide including the natural climate mitigation benefits, but also the food security, water quality, and storm protection benefits that enhance coastal communities and economies.

This presentation will focus on some emerging policy opportunities including: (1) incorporation of coastal wetland carbon in U.S. national climate, resilience, and conservation efforts; (2) potential steps to incorporate coastal wetlands in national greenhouse gas inventories as suggested by the 2013 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Wetlands Supplement; and (3) dialogue at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) about blue carbon habitats and their potential for inclusion. The presentation will conclude by highlighting some of the most pressing blue carbon scientific gaps that need to be filled in order to support these developing policies.