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02/11/18 08:00

Blue Carbon forum launched

Exploring the marine environment’s capacity to solve carbon problem.

A new research programme will measure the ability of Scotland’s marine environment to store carbon dioxide and mitigate against the effects of climate change.
 
It will be driven by the introduction of a ‘Blue Carbon Forum’ of climate change experts and supported by the Scottish Government in partnership with Scottish universities, with a research programme currently funding six PHDs and one post-doctorate. The forum will be led by Professor John Baxter.
 
Launching the forum, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:
 
“The potential role of our marine environment in tackling the greenhouse gas problem is enormous, with recent research by the University of St Andrews estimating that more carbon is captured and stored in sea lochs alone than in our terrestrial environment, such as forests and peatlands.
 
“Scottish Natural Heritage has estimated that the amount of carbon stored within Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is the equivalent of four years of Scotland’s total greenhouse emissions.
 
“These early indicators are very exciting and the forum will drive forward research and develop our understanding of the processes taking place, as well as the impact of human activity on these habitats. Once we have a better indication of the value of our blue carbon resources, we will be better placed to manage and protect them.
 
“We’re also going to be the first country in the world to undertake a region-wide blue carbon audit, which will be carried out in the Orkney Islands maritime region.”
 
Chair of the Blue Carbon Forum, Professor John Baxter, said:
 
“Through the establishment of the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum, Scotland is taking a lead in the development of an integrated programme of research into different aspects of blue carbon sequestration and storage.  This will provide essential information to help inform what is required to be done to enhance and protect these key habitats into the future which is essential for the mitigation of future climate change.”

Background
 
• The new research programme has been developed by Marine Scotland in partnership with SNH, St Andrew’s University, Glasgow University, Heriot-Watt University, Napier University, and the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) 
 
• The programme consists of one post-doctoral study and six PhDs to further understanding of blue carbon capture and storage, and begin developing knowledge of how disturbance affects these processes. A further two PhDs are funded by SNH
 
• The programme aims to begin to identify and map  blue carbon resource in Scottish waters over 2018-19