Scientist looking at insurance models to protect “blue carbon” ecosystems

Scientist looking at insurance models to protect “blue carbon” ecosystems | Insurance Business Australia

Scientist looking at insurance models to protect “blue carbon” ecosystems

A scientist studying how coastal wetland ecosystems can help reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere is investigating the use of insurance models to protect these environments.

Wetland ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrass meadows act as natural barriers to trap carbon before it can reach oceans and the atmosphere.

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Chris Gillies, director for oceans program at The Nature Conservancy, recently told ABC News that the sequestered carbon, called “blue carbon,” can be stored in these wetlands for thousands of years.

Gillies is leading efforts to restore around 2,000 hectares of mangroves and sea grasses in South Australia – and he recently told ABC News that he’s looking at insurance models as a way protect existing ecosystems and fund their restoration in case of a disaster event.

“So, if it ever got hit by a hurricane or degraded, then that insurance would essentially pay for the restoration,” he told ABC News.

As an example, Gilles pointed to a coral reef system in Mexico that was insured in 2019.

“So, if somebody was to release a whole bunch of toxic stuff and wipe out a wetland, then the insurance would pay out,” he said. “You wouldn't be left saying, 'How are we going to fund the restoration and recovery of thousands of hectares of wetlands?'”