The Promise of Blue Carbon
2010-2019 was the hottest decade in history. Despite a dip in emissions due to the pandemic, the world is failing to meet the targets set at the Paris accords and cut emissions at the rate needed to avoid the most catastrophic global heating scenarios. In addition to drastic cuts to emissions, strategies to protect and enhance the carbon removal and sequestration capacity of the earth’s natural systems are critical.
“Blue carbon” refers to the carbon stored in the sediments of coastal ecosystems including mangroves, seagrass beds, and tidal wetlands. These ecosystems are some of the most productive systems on the planet, and they sequester a high proportion of the carbon they remove from the atmosphere. Globally about 50% of our tidal wetlands have been lost, releasing their carbon back into the atmosphere. The restoration of these wetlands has the potential to protect and increase blue carbon stocks.
Can this work contribute meaningfully to mitigating the climate crisis? Can we put a dollar value on it? What is the potential here in the Hudson Estuary? Join Dr. Chester Zarnoch, a wetland scientist conducting research with NYRP on the blue carbon created by our Sherman Creek living shoreline, to learn more about the promise of blue carbon.
Chester B. Zarnoch is a Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology at Baruch College, City University of New York (CUNY) and is Graduate Faculty in the Biology Program at CUNY’s Graduate Center. He has been an active researcher in marine ecology and aquaculture since 2001 and has published papers on shellfish biology, sediment nitrogen cycling, salt marsh ecology, and intensive aquaculture. His current research aims to describe the biological and physical processes that influence ecosystem services derived from restored habitats in eutrophic estuaries. Zarnoch holds a Ph.D. in Biology (The Graduate Center – CUNY, 2006).
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