Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blue Carbon Introduced into UN Climate Change Discussions

On Monday, June 6, blue carbon was introduced into official climate change discussions of the United Nations. Blue carbon was discussed on Monday and Wednesday at the 34th session of Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), in Bonn, Germany (6-17 June 2011). The SBSTA is an important climate change meeting as it provides the Conference of the Parties (COP) with advice on scientific, technological and methodological matters (e.g., it helps to set the agenda for the next international climate change meeting - COP17, to be held in Durban South Africa, 28 Nov - 9 Dec, 2011)

According to the record of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) report from Monday, Papua New Guinea (PNG) introduced the issue of blue carbon on the agenda of the SBSTA, under the heading “On blue carbon: coastal marine systems.” PNG explained that the topic would include consideration of wetlands and coastal ecosystems (as carbon sinks). The US supported blue carbon’s inclusion. However, Brazil noted that blue carbon might not be mature enough for consideration (see ENB, Vol 12 No 503 - 7 June 2011).

On Wednesday, during input on research needs and priorities, “Papua New Guinea discussed the role of blue carbon within the SBSTA, saying that the science on mangrove and salt marsh sinks is robust enough for policy consideration. Noting that mangroves are already included under REDD+, she [speaker for PNG] emphasized the need to monitor the human impact and carbon sequestration potential of other ecosystems. Papua New Guinea also proposed holding a workshop on blue carbon at SBSTA 36” (ENB, Vol 12 No 505 - 9 June 2011).

These discussions represent the first time that blue carbon has been officially discussed by States at an UN climate change conference.

Stay tuned…