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Preserving Blue Carbon: Global Options for Reducing Emissions from Coastal Ecosystems

James N. Sanchirico, UC Davis
Dec 01, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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Coastal and marine ecosystems are a potential sink for storing atmospheric carbon as well as some low-level sequestration. While knowledge on how blue carbon systems work is growing, there is a dearth of analyses that investigate the economic feasibility of generating carbon credits, either in the form of offsets or something analogous to REDD+ credits. To be an economically attractive option for carbon markets, blue carbon must able to generate revenue from its stored carbon that can compete with the economic costs from forgoing agriculture, mariculture, or coastal development. We present the first set of global estimates on the per ton cost of CO2 derived from spatially explicit information on the opportunity costs of protecting mangroves and on the above and below ground carbon storage. We also examine how the conclusions regarding the economic feasibility change when the institutional readiness of different countries to undertake potential blue carbon conservation is considered. Finally, we discuss policy options to promote blue carbon conservation and also briefly consider to what extent and at what cost blue carbon conservation may contribute to biodiversity conservation.

James N. Sanchirico received his Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from the University of California, Davis. After spending time in Washington D.C. as a Senior Fellow with Resources for the Future, he returned to UC Davis where he is currently a Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy. His main research interests include the economic analysis of policy design and implementation for marine and terrestrial species conservation, the development of economic-ecological models for forecasting the effects of resource management policies, and the control and prevention of invasive species. His research has been covered in the popular press, such as Scientific American, Wall Street Journal, Science News, and The Economist.


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