What do seas and ocean have to do with climate? It might surprise some people, but to the COP22 in Marrakech the management of coastal ecosystems has been part of the agenda of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the first time.
Perhaps it is not known that the marine area flora is able to capture and then store the CO2 present in the atmosphere twenty times more than it does the earth's vegetation. Nevertheless, coastal ecosystems are among the most threatened in the world.
Mangroves, wetlands and seagrass meadows are not only a very efficient carbon sink along the coast, because they absorb the greenhouse agents, despite having reduced extension, to a higher pace of the forests of our planet, but also a natural protection mechanism from flooding and weatherproof for human infrastructure and colonies of newborns fish.
To coordinate global initiatives in this field has been created the International Blue Carbon Initiative, a program that has as the mission to mitigate the effects of climate change thanks to the preservation and restoration of coastal ecosystems.
The marine vegetation that absorbs CO2, for which was coined the term 'Blue Carbon', currently covers worldwide an approximate area of 49 million hectares. A heritage to be protected: it is estimated that up to 1.02 billion tons of carbon dioxide are released annually from degraded coastal ecosystems, an amount equivalent to 19% of emissions from tropical deforestation globally. The IBCI estimates that the services that the mangroves make to human populations living in coastal areas 'worth' more than $ 1.6 billion annually.
A benefit that we can’t afford to give up, even according to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Report. Among the seventeen target in SDG Agenda for a sustainable world in 2030, one, the fourteenth to be exact, reads: 'preserve and responsibly use the resources of the oceans, seas and coasts for sustainable development'.
As many as 37% of the world population lives in coastal areas. Intervene with drastic and ambitious decisions to safeguard the ecosystem that houses them is not only crucial for environmental protection, but also for their survival. We wait with confidence the outcome of the Global Landscape Forum from Marrakech COP.