Carbon Blog Dedicated to Coastal Wetlands, Climate Change

(WASHINGTON)-Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) announced today that it has launched a Wetlands Carbon Blog (www.estuaries.org/blog.html) dedicated to exploring the role coastal wetlands play in sequestering greenhouse gases and disseminating the latest news and research behind national and international “Blue Carbon” efforts.

While it is well known that forest ecosystems store large amounts of greenhouse gas carbon-known popularly as “Green Carbon”-promising new research is focusing on so-called “Blue Carbon” in coastal wetland ecosystems such as estuaries, mangroves, seagrasses, and salt marshes.

Recent findings suggest that coastal wetlands may sequester and store carbon at rates three to five times greater than temperate forests, making them efficient-and perhaps essential-carbon “sinks” as global temperatures and sea levels rise in response to increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane are among the most potent greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere.

“Coastal tidal wetlands sequester carbon dioxide at impressive rates, primarily in the soil. Preserving and restoring coastal wetlands can be part of the solution to reducing greenhouse emissions that fuel global warming and climate change,” said Steve Emmett-Mattox, Restore America’s Estuaries Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Programs, and principal Wetlands Carbon blogger.

Restore America’s Estuaries is among the international leaders in Blue Carbon research and policy efforts.

Among RAE’s goals is the creation of a national greenhouse gas offset protocol for coastal tidal wetlands. Such a protocol would help bring coastal wetlands into international carbon markets, providing new opportunities and incentives for private and public investment in the restoration and preservation of tidal wetlands, and a new tool for global coastal and marine conservation.

In 2010, Restore America’s Estuaries, in conjunction with an international panel of experts in climate change, wetlands restoration, and carbon policy and markets, released an action plan designed to speed the creation of such a GHG protocol. RAE’s “Action Plan for the Development of a National Greenhouse Gas Offset Protocol for Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Management” marks the first attempt to answer the remaining scientific, technical, and procedural issues surrounding carbon storage in coastal tidal wetlands, key parts of efforts to bring coastal wetlands into international carbon markets.

RAE is now coordinating the Verified Carbon Standard’s (VCS) technical working group, which is expanding the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU) requirements to include wetlands. Once accepted, the new requirements will enable the creation of wetland greenhouse gas offset protocols and methodologies under the VCS.

Restore America’s Estuaries (RAE) is a national alliance of 11 regional, coastal conservation organizations with more than 250,000 volunteer-members dedicated to preserving our nation’s estuaries. RAE member organizations include: the American Littoral Society, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Conservation Law Foundation, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Galveston Bay Foundation, North Carolina Coastal Federation, People for Puget Sound, Save The Bay-Narragansett Bay, Save The Bay-San Francisco, Save The Sound-a program of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment, and Tampa Bay Watch.

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