Blades of seagrass float in the ocean

Blades of seagrass float in the ocean above the world's largest seagrass meadow and one of the biggest carbon sinks in the high seas, at the Saya de Malha Bank within the Mascarene plateau, Mauritius. Picture Via Tommy Trenchard/Greenpeace/Handout via REUTERS

Are Oceans More Valuable As Carbon Sinks Than As A…

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November 6, 2021

By Todd Gillespie(Bloomberg) –Scientists want to find out just how much the seas and oceans can help in the battle against climate change.

A multimillion dollar partnership between insurance group Convex Group Ltd and the Blue Marine Foundation will allow researchers to spend five years building an open-access database showing how much carbon the world’s seabeds can store. 

It’s a relatively unstudied field compared with other forms of carbon sinks such as forests. The United Nations has backed the idea of a “blue economy” that connects economic growth to ocean protection, for example by incentivizing countries to do more to keep the waters clean.

“The ocean and its resources, while vital to all life on earth, are currently misunderstood and neglected,” said Professor Callum Roberts at the University of Exeter in England, the lead scientist on the Seascape Survey. The study will try to deduce “the amount of carbon stored in coastal seascapes and on the continental shelves, as well as how vulnerable these stores are to man-made damage,” he said.

The blue economy has already become a feature of sovereign debt markets after the Seychelles pioneered a blue bond in 2018. The U.K.’s Office of National Statistics posited in an April study that the country’s seabed could be more valuable as a carbon sink than as a source of oil and natural gas, though the estimates were limited due to the lack of data.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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