New Information Shows Mexico’s Blue Carbon Ecosystems to be in Danger

Spotlight Activity: New Information Shows Mexico’s Blue Carbon Ecosystems to be in Danger

Mexico has territory that is highly vulnerable to hydrometeorological disasters. This has global consequences because destroying the Mexican coastal areas of the Atlantic and the Pacific, affects directly the “Blue carbon” ecosystems, which cover only 0.5% of the world’s marine surface, because México is one of the main countries that harbor these ecological lungs. The so called “Blue carbon” ecosystems are brackish marshes, mangroves and seagrasses, that can capture four times more carbon from the atmosphere than mature tropical forests, and store five times more carbon per area. They represent 50% of the carbon contained in ocean sediments and sequester an annual amount of carbon equivalent to half of the worldwide emissions generated by the transport sector. When degraded or destroyed, these ecosystems emit the carbon they have stored for centuries into the atmosphere. Experts estimate that as much as 1.02 billion tons of carbon dioxide are being released annually from degraded coastal ecosystems, which is equivalent to 19% of emissions from tropical deforestation globally.

A workshop was held In México City on 16 and 17 of October 2018 focused on building a protocol to standardize the information collected on blue carbon ecosystems. At this meeting, different representatives, both national and international, discussed Mexico’s capacities in the monitoring and conservation of these valuable coastal ecosystems. The workshop was one of the follow-up actions proposed by México in compliance with the Paris Agreement: “Increase the carbon sequestration and protect the coastal areas with conservation and recovery schemes for marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses and dunes”, which implies a direct action of adaptation to climate change based on ecosystems.

Status: Right Direction

Standardizing the information on blue carbon ecosystems in Mexico’s coast is just the fist step to monitoring the ecological crisis. However, these actions are not enough to stop the destruction of blue carbon provoked by natural disasters or directly by the pollution of the oceans. These are huge challenges for the incoming Mexican government and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), Josefa Gónzalez Blanco Ortíz Mena, in light of the actions proposed by México in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).

Direct actions must be taken by the Mexican government to not sell the coastal areas to international tourist companies, who are the most interested in building on the Pacific and Caribbean beaches.

Take Action

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Directora General del Instituto Nacional de Ecología y Cambio Climático –
Dr. Amparo Martínez Arroyo
Website: https://www.gob.mx/inecc
Email: amparo@atmosfera.unam.mx
Telephone: (55) 5623 0222

The Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources –
Josefa Gónzalez Blanco Ortíz Mena
Website: https://www.gob.mx/semarnat
Contact: https://twitter.com/josefa_gbom?lang=en

Directora de Regulación de Recursos Marinos y Costeros –
Lic. Alejandra Reta Lira
Telephone: (55) 54 90 09 28
Email: alejandra.reta@semarnat.gob.mx

The Blue Carbon Initiative – Senior Director of Strategic Marine Initiatives
Dr. Emily Pidgeon
Website: http://thebluecarboninitiative.org
Contact: https://twitter.com/aus_epidgeon?lang=en

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