Paper Summary: Dave K A Barnes & others:  ‘Solving biodiversity loss and climate change are part of the same problem; intact natural habitats can provide powerful and efficient climate mitigation if protected. Beyond the land (forests), there is little appreciation of just how important ocean nature is to climate mitigation. Carbon captured, stored and the rate at which it is buried (sequestration) by marine organisms is called blue carbon. We measured how much blue carbon occurs around the remote islands and seamounts of the Tristan da Cunha archipelago Marine Protected Zone (MPZ). We estimated that there are 300 tonnes of carbon (tC) captured in seaweed biomass each year, a proportion of which will sink and become a part of the long-term sediment carbon store. In deeper water we found a standing stock of ~2.3 million tC in the shallowest 1000 m depths, of which equivalent to 0.8 million t of carbon dioxide has the potential to be sequestered. At current carbon prices, and were it to attract blue carbon credits, £24 million worth of blue carbon can potentially be sequestered from the standing stock of this small United Kingdom Overseas Territory. This standing stock is protected and growth could, therefore, generate an additional £3.5 million worth of sequestered carbon a year, making it an unrecognized major component of the local economy. The economic return on this example MPZ probably ranks highly amongst climate mitigation schemes. The message is that placing meaningful protection to carbon-rich natural habitats can massively help society fight climate change and biodiversity loss. Nations who provide this protection should be fairly compensated, particularly where it comes at the detriment of other economic uses of marine habitats.’

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