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Is California a ‘Blue Carbon’ pioneer?

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Tavise Morabia's picture
CoFounder/Sustainability Champion FREYJA Group

An internationally recognized sustainability champion, public speaker, and innovator. Entrepreneur-minded executive with over 15 years of proven results, as well as multiple award-winning global...

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  • May 12, 2022
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A new California state bill could require blue carbon measures to mitigate the effects of coastal development on marshes and wetlands. 

Californian’s AB 2593, authored by Assemblymember Boerner Horvath, D-Encinitas, would require projects on public lands to compensate for greenhouse gas emissions by building or contributing to ‘blue carbon’ projects.

The new rules would apply to any projects on public land, which may include marine projects such as offshore wind, offshore oil and gas platform decommissioning, underwater pipelines, cables, marinas, ports and docks, Christie said. 

Dredging, aquaculture operations and coastal bridge and roadwork could also fall under its provisions.

Public developments on the California coast would also be required to capture carbon in wetlands or other natural ‘blue carbon’ mitigation strategies.

 “It’s a way to develop our coastline, while protecting some of California’s remaining unique important areas,” Boerner Horvath said. 

“Instead of damaging them, we can double down and reinforce the things that are really valuable - seagrass, flora and fauna.”

For projects that affect tidal or ocean habitat, plans may include planting new eelgrass beds or restoring marshland.

For now, mitigation plans focus on improving habitat for native plants and wildlife, along with building amenities such as trails and bike lanes.  Under Boerner Horvath’s bill, ‘blue carbon’ would become another factor the Coastal Commission would evaluate.

Last November, the White House and U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) reintroduced the ‘Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act’ - federal legislation focused on conserving, restoring, and understanding how coastal ‘blue carbon’ ecosystems help mitigate climate change, and how we can better leverage that capacity in the future.

Everything in nature is about balance! 

Tavise Morabia's picture
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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 12, 2022

Is this type of blue carbon measure modeled or reminiscent of a similar policy somewhere else in the world, or is this new ground being forged? 

Tavise Morabia's picture
Tavise Morabia on May 12, 2022

I cannot comment on modeling for the proposed Bill - I’m not involved. 

It has potential to be groundbreaking policy. White House established focus in November and first state to propose blue carbon mitigation strategies, versus California’s current limited considerations… 
“mitigation plans focus on improving habitat for native plants and wildlife, along with building amenities such as trails and bike lanes.  Under Boerner Horvath’s bill, ‘blue carbon’ would become another factor the Coastal Commission would evaluate.”

Hope this helps clarify. Happy to provide any additional insight I may have. Be well! 

Henry Craver's picture
Henry Craver on May 20, 2022

Hmmm I hope this program proves effective. However, in the meantime, I wish California would embrace all the clean energy they get from the Diablo Plant. Nuclear is a carbon cutting measure with a long track record of success. 

Tavise Morabia's picture
Tavise Morabia on May 20, 2022

Thank you Henry for the input but I’m not sure how they are connected - could you expand on your comment?

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