26 September 2023

Blue Carbon strategy to clean underwater

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The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has unveiled a new strategy to restore coastal biodiversity and ecosystems while working towards the reduction of emissions.

Welcoming the NSW Blue Carbon Strategy, Minister for Environment, James Griffin said the Strategy provided an overview of how marine ecosystems were a powerhouse for capturing and storing carbon, while also improving foreshore protection, water quality, biodiversity and fisheries.

“The simplest way to understand blue carbon is to liken it to underwater forests – just as trees store carbon, marine and coastal plants and ecosystems do too, except even more efficiently,” Mr Griffin said.

“Marine plants and coastal ecosystems, such as seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh, store carbon up to four times more efficiently than ecosystems on land,” he said.

“But, since European settlement in Australia, we’ve lost huge swathes of these ecosystems.”

Mr Griffin said NSW had more than 2,000 kilometres of coastline and surrounding areas that could support the storage of additional blue carbon, “which would significantly contribute to our goal of reducing carbon emissions, while restoring and rewilding our marine environment”.

He said marine and coastal ecosystems in NSW currently stored about 10 million tonnes of carbon – equivalent to annual emissions from 500,000 households.

“Australia’s coastline stores approximately five to 11 per cent of global blue carbon stocks,” the Minister said.

“The Strategy will help unlock investment in blue carbon projects through carbon credits and other mechanisms.”

Mr Griffin said it identified actions within five priority areas to be delivered over the next five years, including conserving blue carbon ecosystems and supporting their adaptation; delivering blue carbon projects; embedding blue carbon in coastal and marine policy planning and management; conducting blue carbon research; and promoting pathways for blue carbon investment.

DPE’s 26-page NSW Blue Carbon Strategy can be accessed at this PS News link.

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