Climate Action

Report: Blue carbon strategy will be key to reach net zero by 2050

The Marine Conservation Society has launched a new report in partnership with Rewilding Britain which outlines the importance of our seas in helping the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

  • 04 May 2021
  • Rachel Cooper

The Marine Conservation Society has launched a new report in partnership with Rewilding Britain which outlines the importance of our seas in helping the UK to reach net zero by 2050.

The report highlights the need to look to blue carbon solutions in tandem with those on land to reach our goals of tackling the climate crisis.

The significant role of the world’s forests in helping to reduce carbon emissions has been recognised resulting in initiatives and reforesting projects intended to keep carbon locked in land. Unfortunately, the report points out, equivalent solutions in the ocean are often overlooked.

By protecting and rewilding habitats in our ocean, blue carbon stores will have increased capacity and ability to store carbon.  

The report states that globally, rewilding key blue carbon stores such as seagrass beds, saltmarshes and mangroves could deliver carbon dioxide mitigation amounting to 1.83 billion tonnes. That’s 5% of the emissions savings we need to make globally.

Dr Chris Tuckett, Director of Programmes, said: “Our report outlines how vital blue carbon solutions are to an effective strategy which reaches net zero by 2050. We’re calling on the UK Government and devolved administrations to act with urgency to invest in, co-develop and implement a four nation Blue Carbon Strategy.”

Rebecca Wrigley, Rewilding Britain’s Chief Executive, said: "Allowing a rich rainbow of underwater habitats and their sealife to recover offers huge opportunities for tackling the nature and climate crises, and for benefiting people’s livelihoods."

“From Dornoch Firth to Lyme Bay, inspiring projects are leading the way by restoring critically important seagrass meadows, kelp forests and oyster beds. Combined with the exclusion of bottom towed trawling and dredging, such initiatives offer hope and a blueprint for bringing our precious seas back to health.”

The UK has committed to significantly increase its spending on nature-based solutions, including those offered by the ocean.  The Marine Conservation Society and Rewilding Britain are now calling on UK governments to adopt ocean-based solutions at pace and scale by 2030.

Read the full report here.