We are seeing the implications of a changing climate more everyday, and the ocean plays a critical role. Recent studies and research including Restore America’s Estuaries recently published Blue Carbon National Action Plan have identified the potential of the ocean as not a “victim” of climate change, but a source of solutions to help close gaps in strategies to mitigate carbon emissions. One of the roles of the ocean in mitigating the emissions is referred to as “blue carbon” or the carbon captured by the world’s ocean and coastal ecosystems. Both coastal and deep ocean ecosystems have a role to play in blue carbon mitigation and climate change adaptation and resilience. There has been growing interest from policy makers in how to support and incentivize blue carbon as a mitigation and resilience strategy which offers opportunities for dialogue among scientists, decision makers and small localized non-governmental organizations to support the development and implementation of effective policies based on relevant scientific evidence.
To this end, COMPASS and Restore America’s Estuaries collaborated to organize a roundtable discussion in October 2022 in Washington, D.C. to explore these issues. This roundtable brought together experts from across the marine and coastal ecology, social science, policy, and environmental justice spaces with decision makers to examine the latest science, connect key people working on this issue, consider policy-relevant questions and explore opportunities to advance innovative solutions for blue carbon as part of a holistic and whole ecosystem approach to mitigating climate change.