Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Environment

Climate scientists urge protection of coastal ecosystems

Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 - 02:34

Oct. 10 - Climate scientists in the United States are calling for greater protection of coastal ecosystems following a study that shows them to be major absorbers of CO2. They say the destruction of systems like mangrove swamps, may release more than one billion tonnes of carbon into atmosphere every year and contributes significantly to climate change. Ben Gruber reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Most scientists believe that the use of fossil fuels and deforestation are the principle contributors to climate change. But now one team of researchers is pointing to what they say is another major source of carbon emissions - the destruction of coastal eco-systems. Brian Murray, an economist at the Nicholas Institute at Duke University, says the global loss of mangroves, sea grass and salt marshes sends more CO2 into the atmosphere than most countries on Earth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN MURRAY, DIRECTOR FOR ECONOMIC ANALYSIS AT THE NICHOLAS INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY SOLUTIONS AT DUKE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "Our best global estimates are that the losses are roughly 500 million to a billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year and to put that in context that is equal to the carbon emissions of the UK or Japan and Japan is the 5th largest emitter in the world of any country. So what we found is that this is a significant amount and that it is a source of emissions that the global climate agreement has largely overlooked." James Fourqurean, a professor of biology at Florida International University, says the situation has been overlooked mostly because it has gone unseen. Unlike the burning of rain forests, most of the carbon in coastal eco-systems is stored in massive deposits in the soil beneath the vegetation. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES FOURQUREAN, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY , FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "It's carbon that is been stored over millennia. So, if we cut down and destroy these systems, that long term storage of carbon that has been in there for thousands of thousands of years gets returned in a big puff into the atmosphere." And the scientists found that these eco-systems are being destroyed at an alarming rate - especially in developing countries where these coastal systems are being converted into farm land. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRIAN MURRAY, DIRECTOR FOR ECONOMIC ANALYSIS AT THE NICHOLAS INSTITUTE FOR ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY SOLUTIONS AT DUKE UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "When you build a shrimp farm you scrape off the top metre or so of soil and the carbon that is in that soil actually ends up in the atmosphere rather quickly contributing to the climate change problem." Brian Murray hopes the findings will convince climate policy makers that serious funding is needed to create valuable incentives for farmers and landowners to leave these fragile eco-systems intact before it's too late. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JAMES FOURQUREAN, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "With loss rated of 3,4,5 percent, within a century it will all be gone and the carbon that is stored in it will no longer be stored there." Data related to coastal eco-system destruction has yet to make it into the literature of the United Nations panel on Climate change. The scientists hope these findings will change that at the U.N. Climate Change conference in Doha next month.

Climate scientists urge protection of coastal ecosystems

Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012 - 02:34

Top News »

Money »

S&P 500 to new record on improving economy S&P 500 to new record on improving economy

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (2:31)

Finding meaning in the S&P 500 2000 mark Finding meaning in the S&P 500 2000 mark

Mon, Aug 25, 2014 - (2:35)

S&P falls back from record high S&P falls back from record high

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (1:35)

S&P 500 closes at new high S&P 500 closes at new high

Thu, Aug 21, 2014 - (1:24)

S&P 500 just shy of record S&P 500 just shy of record

Wed, Aug 20, 2014 - (2:23)

Apple hits $100 a share Apple hits $100 a share

Tue, Aug 19, 2014 - (2:06)

Nasdaq closes at 14-year high Nasdaq closes at 14-year high

Mon, Aug 18, 2014 - (2:23)

Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood Putin puts Wall Street in buying mood

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (2:10)

We've become a promotional culture-RetailMeNot's Bodge We've become a promotional...

Thu, Aug 14, 2014 - (4:39)

The Exchange »

The Exchange: Hot commodity The Exchange: Hot commodity

Wed, Jul 16, 2014 - (9:25)

The Exchange: Constitutional crusade The Exchange: Constitutional crusade

Wed, Jun 25, 2014 - (11:35)

The Exchange: The value of money The Exchange: The value of money

Mon, Jun 02, 2014 - (9:53)

The Exchange: China’s Second Continent The Exchange: China’s Second Continent

Tue, May 27, 2014 - (9:35)

The Exchange: A master of business arts The Exchange: A master of business arts

Thu, May 08, 2014 - (8:24)

The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities The Exchange: America's bankrupt cities

Mon, May 05, 2014 - (8:52)

The Exchange: Let the rocking commence The Exchange: Let the rocking commence

Tue, Apr 08, 2014 - (8:13)

The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies The Exchange: The Moneyball fallacies

Mon, Mar 24, 2014 - (9:54)

Is doing good a good business? Is doing good a good business?

Mon, Mar 17, 2014 - (7:38)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)

A refugee in America gives back A refugee in America gives back

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - (3:25)

A long search for refuge A long search for refuge

Fri, Jun 20, 2014 - (3:04)

World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goals

Fri, Jun 06, 2014 - (1:08)

VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light VIVID – Sydney’s spectacle of light

Fri, May 30, 2014 - (1:37)