Coastal ecosystems such as seagrass meadows, salt marshes, and mangrove forests can act as carbon dioxide stores to mitigate climate change—thus preventing billions in follow-up costs worldwide.
The basics in brief
- Mangrove forests or seagrass meadows also act as carbon dioxide stores.
Ecosystems off the coast of Australia alone save climate impact costs to the rest of the world at about $23 billion (about €19.4 billion) annually, according to a study presented Monday by the Institute for World Economics (IfW) in Kiel.
In addition, Australia, Indonesia and the USA, with their coastal ecosystems, offer the greatest potential for carbon storage, as calculated by researchers at IfW and at the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, the University of Kiel and the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity. Search.
The scientists also looked at countries that benefit the most from coasts with higher storage capacities around the world. Wilfried Rickles, an IFW expert, explained that Australia and Indonesia are clearly the biggest donor countries in terms of avoiding climate damage globally from uptake of CO2 in coasts, as they have relatively few benefits from their coasts’ high storage potential. On the other hand, the United States can also store a lot of carbon, but at the same time it has benefited more from the natural carbon dioxide sinks behind India and China.
In monetary terms, India generates annual welfare gains of about $26.4 billion, China has $16.6 billion, and the United States has $14.7 billion.
The researchers noted the fundamental importance of coastal ecosystems. They are an essential part of marine ecosystems and therefore particularly important for biodiversity and fishing, explained Martin Koas of the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research. They also contribute to flood and coastal protection, and are therefore important for climate change adaptation.
IFW expert Rickels called for more attention to be paid to these ecosystems in the fight against climate change. “Marine CO2 uptake and increase require more attention in the debate about net greenhouse gases and net negative CO2 targets,” Rickles explained. The prospect of weakening offshore CO2 sinks would require a much greater effort.