Gulbenkian launches pioneering Blue Carbon project in Portugal

The Gulbenkian Blue Carbon project will map all marine and coastal ecosystems with the potential to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in quantities greater than those of forests.

A part of this project, a portfolio of interventions for the protection and restoration of these blue carbon ecosystems will also be made available, which companies and other interested economic agents may use to offset their carbon footprint and/or invest in blue carbon in Portugal.

With this mapping, from the north to the south of mainland Portugal, the ecosystems will be characterised (location, size, condition, annual carbon sequestration rate, among other characteristics) in order to determine the appropriate protection and restoration measures. This information will be shared to encourage investment in the conservation and ecological restoration of these marine and coastal habitats, vital to fighting the climate crisis and protecting biodiversity, and to achieving the targets of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation will make the first investment in this national blue carbon portfolio, by financing a pilot conservation or restoration project in one of these marine areas, in order to offset the volume of the Foundation’s unmitigable carbon footprint in 2021 (2,238 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, which includes greenhouse gas emissions from electricity or heat purchased and consumed).

Gulbenkian Blue Carbon will act as a driver for the blue carbon market in Portugal – a network of potential financiers (companies) interested in supporting these projects will be created to facilitate their growth.

Led and coordinated by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, this project is developed in partnership with CCMAR – the University of the Algarve’s Centre of Ocean Sciences and ANP | WWF – Associação Natureza Portugal in collaboration with the WWF.

The launch of Gulbenkian Blue Carbon is part of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s participation in the United Nations Ocean Conference, taking place in Lisbon between 27 June and 1 July. It will present Gulbenkian Blue Carbon on 27 June, at 16:45, in the Fórum Oceano auditorium of the Portuguese Pavilion.

Updated on 07 june 2022

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