UNEP Report Calls for Ecosystems Management

In order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, ecosystems such as forests need to be managed better, according to a report released Friday by the U.N. Environment Program. Restoring peatlands and better agricultural practices can also help reduce carbon emissions. As the report puts it, "Managing ecosystems for carbon can not only reduce carbon emissions; it can also actively remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Investing in ecosystem management is more cost effective than investing in carbon capture and sequestration. In addition to being more cost effective, ecosystem management also improves water supplies. 

"We need to move toward a comprehensive policy framework for addressing ecosystems," said co-author Barney Dickson.

"Tens of billions of dollars are being earmarked for carbon capture and storage at power stations with the CO2 to be buried underground or under the sea," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. "But perhaps the international community is overlooking a tried and tested method that has been working for millennia, the biosphere. By some estimates the Earth's living systems might be capable of sequestering more than 50 gigatones (Gt) of carbon over the coming decades with the right market signals."


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