Blue Carbon Financing of Mangrove Conservation in the Abidjan Convention Region: A Feasibility Study
2. The global context: an overview of international payment mechanisms for blue carbon
Development of international mechanisms for blue carbon payments Research over the last five years has indicated the potential for a large economic benefit from blue carbon conservation in mangrove forests (Murray, Pendleton et al., 2011; Siikamäki, Sanchirico et al., 2012). The capability to estimate blue carbon stocks has grown in recent years, including through improved global predictive models of storage in soil and biomass, progress on remote sensing and GIS application in mangroves (Hutchison, Manica et al., 2014; Jardine and Siikamäki, 2014; Patil, Singh et al., 2015). This has led to the development of databases with sufficient relevant information upon which to base estimates of potential payments for blue carbon (see Figure 3 below). In addition to a more in-depth and wider coverage of raw blue carbon data to support carbon payment opportunities, a growing body of literature on habitat and carbon loss due to conversion pressures has enhanced understanding of the trends and drivers of coastal habitat conversion and blue carbon loss (Valiela, Bowen et al., 2001; Barbier and Cox, 2003; Barbier and Sathirathai, 2004; Polidoro, Carpenter et al., 2010; Hamilton, 2013; Hamilton and Lovette, 2015). These analyses have led to a similarly-themed growing literature on the valuation of additional benefits from mangrove forests,
e.g. supporting fisheries and providing coastal protection (Salem and Mercer, 2012; Kauffman and Bhomia, 2014; UNEP, 2014; Barbier, 2015). For example, a recent study estimated that global mangrove losses have resulted in up to US$ 42 billion in economic damages annually due to greenhouse gas emissions losses (UNEP 2014). As a result of the growing amount of information available on blue carbon-storage capacity, international financing mechanisms could potentially be deployed to pay for this service as part of the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the creation of carbon markets (see Figure 4). More specifically, blue carbon has recently become a valid candidate for inclusion under the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) market mechanism, which prices greenhouse gas emission reductions from forest conservation. Additional international finance mechanisms that could be relevant to blue carbon include several UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) specific funds, bi- andmultilateral, as well as national climate funds (Herr, Agardy et al., 2015). Additionally, financing options such as debt-for-nature swaps or payments for biodiversity have been considered recently for blue carbon (Ministerio del Ambiente, 2015). All of these mechanisms have developed within the last
Figure 3: Global biophysical mangrove data coverage Note: Red marks show locations reported in Hutchison, Manica et al. (2014) where carbon stock or flux data is available; blue marks show locations reported in Jardine and Siikamäki (2014) where soil carbon data is available from meta-analyses by Chmura, Anisfeld et al. (2003), Kristensen, Bouillon et al.( 2008), and Donato, Kauffman et al.(2011).
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