The World Meteorological Organization’s recent report noted a diminishing ability of the world’s oceans and plant life to soak up the excess carbon put into the atmosphere but failed to look at the growing body of science supporting “coastal blue carbon,” the ability for coastal wetlands to sequester and store carbon emissions [“CO2 rising at much faster rate, report finds,” front page, Sept. 9].
In the United States, these wetlands include salt marshes in the San Francisco and Chesapeake bays, seagrass in Texas and mangroves in Florida. A recent Restore America’s Estuaries study in Puget Sound found that carbon sequestration rates from wetlands can be as much as 12 tons of CO2 per hectare per year. The study also demonstrated that the planned restoration of 1,300 hectares of wetlands would remove 8.9 million tons of CO2 over 100 years.
Our estuaries and coastlines are on the front lines when it comes to the effects of climate change. Increasing investment in the restoration of our nation’s coastal ecosystems helps coastal communities prepare for the effects of climate change and measurably reduces carbon pollution.
Jeff Benoit, Arlington
The writer is president of Restore America’s Estuaries.