Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marine Conservation Advanced through the American Power Act

Miami, FL / May 13, 2010 /  Marine conservation was advanced as part of the solution to climate change in legislation introduced yesterday by Senators Kerry and Lieberman.

The American Power Act is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, mitigating climate change and making the transition to a clean energy economy.  It includes support for projects that offset or mitigate carbon emissions.

The legislation advances marine conservation by including the restoration and conservation of certain coastal and marine ecosystems, which capture and store atmospheric carbon, in the list of eligible mitigation projects.

Recent reports produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) found that, when healthy, mangrove forests, saltwater marshlands and seagrass meadows are extremely effective at storing atmospheric carbon, thereby mitigating climate change.  The reports are titled ‘Blue Carbon’ and ‘The Management of Natural Coastal Carbon Sinks,’ respectfully.

In specific, language included in the Act under the Eligible Projects (for offsets) section includes "projects to restore or prevent the conversion, loss, or degradation of vegetated marine coastal habitats,” and “management and restoration of peatland or wetland.”  This language can be seen as an important first step in potential carbon offsets for what many groups have termed ‘blue carbon.’  It also potentially increases the value and utility, and appreciation for, marine conservation around the world.

The American Power Act is available at:
[click Read the Bill, see pages. 387 (line 16) and 388 (line 1)]

Senators Kerry and Lieberman's endorsement of ‘blue carbon’ brings the number of Senators to eleven that formally recognize the role that healthy coastal and marine ecosystems can play as part of the solution to climate change.

Earlier this year, the Blue Climate Coalition thanked nine senators who included similar language in the Clean Energy Partnerships Act, see:

Essentially, ‘blue carbon’ is eminently politically viable.

-Steven, Blue Climate Solutions

When healthy, certain coastal and marine ecosystems, including seagrass meadows, mangrove forests, and saltwater marshlands, capture and store atmospheric carbon thereby helping to mitigate climate change.