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Media Invitation: International experts to boost awareness of blue carbon (13 May 13)

Monday, 13 May 2013

Source: University of Technology Sydney

Renowned scientists and marine experts from Australia and abroad will meet in Sydney this week to raise awareness of the benefits of conserving and restoring Australia’s coastal and marine ecosystems as an effective way of storing carbon.

The scientific working group of the International Blue Carbon Initiative – a global program led by Conservation International (CI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (IOC-UNESCO) — will meet at the University of Technology, Sydney and the NSW Office of the Environment from 15 to 17 May.

‘Blue carbon’ is the vital role coastal vegetation such as seagrass, saltmarsh and mangroves play in sequestering and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide and therefore reducing the greenhouse effect causing climate change.

The group will identify how blue carbon can fit into research and conservation opportunities in Australia and the Coral Triangle – the tropical marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. The group will also discuss the latest seagrass research and visit local seagrass and tidal marsh areas near Botany Bay.

Blue carbon should be a key part of Australia’s efforts to halt dangerous climate change, says Professor Peter Ralph, member of the Blue Carbon International Scientific Working Group and executive director of the Plant Functional Biology and Climate Change Cluster (C3) at UTS.

“Seagrass, mangroves and saltmarsh capture carbon up to 40 times faster than forests and store it for thousands of years,” Professor Ralph says.

“Unfortunately, these critical ecosystems are being destroyed worldwide at a rapid pace — it’s estimated that this destruction releases as much as 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide each year into the atmosphere and oceans — almost the equivalent of Japan’s yearly emissions.”

“This visit is an important opportunity for local decision makers to learn more about the science and policies behind blue carbon straight from internationally-renowned experts,” Professor Ralph says.

“The Blue Carbon Initiative works not only to protect these systems for their climate change mitigation value, but also for the many other ecosystem services they provide, such as fisheries production and coastal protection from floods and erosion,” says Dr Emily Pidgeon, Senior Director of Marine Climate Change at Conservation International and co-chair of the Blue Carbon Initiative Scientific Working Group.

“This issue is critical and the Blue Carbon Initiative is excited about this opportunity to bring our efforts and expertise to Australia and the Coral Triangle region.

More information: www.thebluecarboninitiative.org

International Blue Carbon Initiative – Scientific Working Group Workshop

Wednesday 15 – Friday 17 May, 2013

University of Technology, Sydney and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage

Media Interviews
Media are welcome to attend the event. To receive a detailed agenda for the workshops, please contact Jacqui Smith on 0422 418 753 or email jacqui.smith@uts.edu.au.

Photo and video opportunities can be arranged as part of a planned visit to local seagrass and tidal marsh areas near Botany Bay.


Media Enquiries

Prof Peter Ralph
02 9514 4070
0412 323 358