When we think about what will be discussed at COP26 we usually think of big factories emitting CO2 or new forms of transport, we wouldn’t usually think about seaweed. But we should. Ecosystems such as, seaweed farms are a secret weapon to mitigating the climate crisis and storing blue carbon. 

Blue carbon ecosystems not only mitigates climate change, they also protect coastal communities from its harmful impacts, such as rising seas and flooding, and provide important habitats for marine life

The sooner blue carbon initiatives are recognised on a global scale, the sooner we will really be able to see the power of our Ocean and capabilities it has to fight the climate crisis. 

What is blue carbon?   

Blue carbon is the term for carbon captured by our Ocean and coastal ecosystems.   

Coastal ecosystems such as:  

  • Mangrove forests  
  • Tidal marshes  
  • Seagrass meadows  
  • Kelp farms  

What do they do?  

These ecosystems sequester and store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests like the Amazon rainforest and are now (just about) being recognised for their role in mitigating climate change.  

We need more than commitments. We need an action plan.    

How can they be protected? 

Governments and stake holders need to work together to coordinate this action plan. We aren’t asking them to reinvent the wheel. Many communities and NGOs are currently working on the ground to protect blue carbon.  

Check out these organisations who are working to protect blue carbon: 

  • The Blue Carbon Initiative - The Blue Carbon Initiative works to protect and restore coastal ecosystems, researching sequestration, storage and loss of carbon from blue carbon, and running on the ground projects to protect communities  

  • Blue Carbon Partnership - increase international commitments to protect coastal blue carbon ecosystems and accelerate on-the-ground implementation of blue carbon protection and restoration activities 

  • Big Seaweed Search -  A community science project run by the Marine Conservation Society to become a citizen scientist and create positive impact 

Governments and stake holders have the power to boost these on the ground projects by financially backing them, which would provide more research and knowledge on how to protect these ecosystems, as well as getting more on the water projects up and running.  

  

Collaboration is key.   

The other Ocean focused solutions that also need to be discussed at COP26 are: 

1)Banning or reducing Bottom Trawling 

2) Steps toward the UN's 30 x 30 target

3) The Ocean as the Solution

4) More inclusive conversations

We've also gathered a list of the Top events you can tune into at COP26 that have an Ocean focus.