Blue Works

Marine Restoration Advanced to Help Stimulate the Economy and as Part of the Solution to Climate Change

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 19, 2010 — A large international coalition today issued communications in support of marine conservation and restoration options for creating jobs and stimulating the U.S. economy, and as part of the solution to climate change.

The ‘Blue Climate Coalition,’ comprised of seventy-four conservation groups and marine stakeholders, from seventeen countries, issued recommendations to President Obama and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The coalition represents a wide range of interests – environmental leaders including the Pew Environment Group, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation, Greenpeace USA, and The Ocean Foundation; restoration groups including Restore America’s Estuaries, Seagrass Recovery, and Mangrove Action Project; science and technology interests; and many others.

President Obama was asked to include the conservation and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems in his plans for economic recovery, and in policies for climate change mitigation.

When healthy, certain marine ecosystems, such as mangrove forests, saltwater marshlands, and seagrass meadows store atmospheric carbon and thereby naturally help mitigate climate change. They also support coastal communities through tourism and commercial and recreational fisheries.

The coalition asked Monique Barbut, GEF chair, to include coastal and marine ecosystem conservation and restoration in GEF funded climate change mitigation projects, and to support the research and development of this approach, recently termed ‘blue carbon’ by the conservation community.

Thank-you letters were also issued to Senator’s Kerry and Lieberman for including options for marine conservation as potential climate mitigation projects in the American Power Act.

“Healthy coastal and marine ecosystems represent critical economic infrastructure for many Americans and around the globe,” said Steven J. Lutz, Executive Director of Blue Climate Solutions, the Miami based group that organized the coalition effort. “A healthy environment can play a central role in driving the economy, as well as addressing greenhouse gas pollution and global climate change.”

“Sadly, we are loosing these important ecosystems at an alarming rate, with 59,000 acres of coastal wetlands lost each year in the Eastern United States alone,” said Lutz. “Such loss threatens the way of life and economic well being of millions of Americans. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity to help ensure a strong economic future while doing something good for ourselves and the environment.”