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Blue Carbon: The Climate Mitigation Opportunity You’ve Never Heard Of

SOARCE Webinar

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 below ground 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 discuss the state of the science and policy of blue carbon 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 opportunities to include coastal wetlands in voluntary carbon markets.  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.

About the Speaker:

Ariana Sutton-Grier, ecosytem science advisor and lead of the NOAA Coastal Blue Carbon Team.

Dr. Ariana Sutton-Grier is an ecosystem ecologist with expertise in wetland ecology and restoration, biodiversity, biogeochemistry, climate change, and ecosystem services.   Dr. Sutton-Grier is a research faculty member at the University of Maryland in the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center and is also the Ecosystem Science Adviser for the National Ocean Service at NOAA.  She holds Bachelors degrees from Oregon State University in Environmental Science and International Studies and a doctoral degree from Duke University in Ecology.  She leads the NOAA Coastal Blue Carbon Team as well as an interagency blue carbon group and is very involved with NOAA’s efforts to support natural and nature-based coastal resilience strategies.  She gets especially excited about seeking and discovering innovative opportunities to combine science and policy to solve environmental problems and promote ecosystem conservation. Her research has been published in many environmental and policy journals and featured in several news stories, as well as a children’s science TV show. 

 

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ADAPTING TO OCEAN ACIDIFICATION

The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program (OAP) works to prepare society to adapt to the consequences of ocean acidification and conserve marine ecosystems as acidification occurs. Learn more about the human connections and adaptation strategies from these efforts.

Adaptation approaches fostered by the OAP include:

FORECASTING

Using models and research to understand the sensitivity of organisms and ecosystems to ocean acidification to make predictions about the future, allowing communities and industries to prepare

MANAGEMENT

Using these models and predictions as tools to facilitate management strategies that will protect marine resources and communities from future changes

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Developing innovative tools to help monitor ocean acidification and mitigate changing ocean chemistry locally

REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

On the Road

Drive fuel-efficient vehicles or choose public transportation. Choose your bike or walk! Don't sit idle for more than 30 seconds. Keep your tires properly inflated.

With your Food Choices

Eat local- this helps cut down on production and transport! Reduce your meat and dairy. Compost to avoid food waste ending up in the landfill

With your Food Choices

Make energy-efficient choices for your appliances and lighting. Heat and cool efficiently! Change your air filters and program your thermostat, seal and insulate your home, and support clean energy sources

By Reducing Coastal Acidification

Reduce your use of fertilizers, Improve sewage treatment and run off, and Protect and restore coastal habitats

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TAKE ACTION WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

You've taken the first step to learn more about ocean acidification - why not spread this knowledge to your community?

Every community has their unique culture, economy and ecology and what’s at stake from ocean acidification may be different depending on where you live.  As a community member, you can take a larger role in educating the public about ocean acidification. Creating awareness is the first step to taking action.  As communities gain traction, neighboring regions that share marine resources can build larger coalitions to address ocean acidification.  Here are some ideas to get started:

  1. Work with informal educators, such as aquarium outreach programs and local non-profits, to teach the public about ocean acidification. Visit our Education & Outreach page to find the newest tools!
  2. Participate in habitat restoration efforts to restore habitats that help mitigate the effects of coastal acidification
  3. Facilitate conversations with local businesses that might be affected by ocean acidification, building a plan for the future.
  4. Partner with local community efforts to mitigate the driver behind ocean acidification  – excess CO2 – such as community supported agriculture, bike & car shares and other public transportation options.
  5. Contact your regional Coastal Acidification Network (CAN) to learn how OA is affecting your region and more ideas about how you can get involved in your community
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