The Battle for Blue (Carbon)

Over the last 3 years, the Carbon Institute, a project of GHGMI and other partners, has worked tirelessly to develop and prove a brand new model for effective capacity building. Founded on the principles of respectful long-term partnerships and true national ownership of teaching curriculums, the Carbon Institute has aligned with top universities in China, Indonesia and Central Africa to address key knowledge gaps and enable governments to successfully measure and report their terrestrial carbon inventories and emissions to the United Nations. In 2018, urged by its partners from Indonesia and China and Africa, the Carbon Institute began developing high-caliber curriculum focused on the science, policy and management dynamics of Blue Carbon. In fact, just a few weeks from now, the Director of the Carbon Institute will unveil key modules of the new Blue Carbon curriculum during a two-week stint as a guest lecturer at London’s Imperial College. In conjunction with this crucial new curriculum, the Carbon Institute has recently begun to develop, for the first time ever, a comprehensive methodology to reliably and consistently measure the carbon stored in kelp. We plan to use the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guidelines for greenhouse gas inventories to inform a test case in California. Since the international guidelines do not directly address kelp, this exercise is designed to bring rigor to one of the planet’s most exciting and complex natural climate solutions. Stay tuned!

“With the promising potential of developing high-integrity carbon offset credits, creating new jobs, accelerating mitigation and enhancing coastal resilience, a key missing piece is a reliable and internationally recognized framework for measuring kelp CO2 content,” remarked Niles.

With plenty of hands-on experience applying the complex and nuanced guidelines of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to terrestrial carbon, the Carbon Institute is perfectly suited to add this final piece to the Blue Carbon puzzle. Urged by stakeholders to focus research efforts in California, the Institute hopes to begin data collection soon.


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