According to the Ocean Business website, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Ocean (APPG), set up in May 2022, has launched an inquiry into ocean-based solutions to climate change and the role of blue carbon, i.e. the storage of carbon by marine ecosystems, such as mangroves.
The APPG for the Ocean is a cross-party parliamentary group enabling MPs to support and promote ocean research and awareness. Under the direction of Chair Sally-Ann Hart MP, the inquiry - which will cover Great Britain, Northern Ireland and all relevant overseas territories - will consider the benefits offered by ocean-based solutions, and the funding, research and solutions needed to support blue carbon.
UK blue carbon ecosystems sequester an estimated 11 million tonnes of CO2 a year, according to the Blue Marine Foundation, equating to 2 per cent of all UK emissions. This corresponds to nearly 30% of all CO2 sequestration achieved by natural ecosystems in the UK. For this reason, methods of conservation and restoration of blue carbon habitats have become a research priority. However, as the Blue Marine Foundation says, "The science of blue carbon is in its infancy, with gaps in evidence and quantification. The techniques to develop, verify and monitor blue carbon projects and their impact on biodiversity globally are still emerging. The United Kingdom has a powerful opportunity to show leadership in creating a scalable voluntary carbon market that actively incorporates blue carbon".
The APPG inquiry has therefore set the ten following introductory questions, but is encouraging respondents to submit any comments that they would like the APPG to consider:
- What role can ocean-based solutions play in tackling climate change?
- Do you feel that the Government is doing enough to support blue carbon and blue carbon projects? What action would you like them to take?
- What kinds of ocean/nature-based solutions would you like to see implemented and how would they benefit a) coastal communities, b) flood prevention, and c) tackling climate change?
- Do you feel that there is enough funding and support for research into how the ocean absorbs carbon?
- What is the net benefit (carbon stored minus carbon used) for each Blue Carbon approach and for how long is the carbon stored in the ocean in each case?
- Do you agree with the recommendation by the Lords Science and Technology Committee, in its report “Nature-based solutions: rhetoric or reality?”, that blue carbon mapping is needed in the UK’s exclusive economic zone?
- What additional benefits might the implementation of nature-based solutions in the marine environment bring such as skills training, capacity-building, sustainable development, and job creation?
- Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) ideas are also being discussed for the open ocean, beyond the continental shelves, as well as for the coastal zone (e.g., US National Academy report). How do the benefits, risks and costs compare if CDR techniques were applied to each of these parts of the marine system?
- How do the lack of verifiable standards of data and scientific evidence hinder investments in blue carbon projects across coastal and deep ocean components of the marine ecosystem?
- What kinds of engineering solutions could contribute to scaling up and increasing the feasibility of nature-based solutions in marine environments?
The inquiry will close at 17:00 on Wednesday 10th August and all responses (which should be limited to 500 words per question) should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com