New Legislation Taps into Coasts’ Potential to Store Carbon Pollution

Audubon California supports the introduction of the Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 13, 2020) – Today Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) introduced the bipartisan Blue Carbon for Our Planet Act, which would help the United States meet a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 through the leveraging and enhancing of carbon storage benefits of coastal ecosystems.

“What’s left of California’s coastal wetlands and seagrass beds serve as fish spawning grounds, bird rookeries and an enormous potential carbon sink, but some 95 percent have been lost to development and environmental degradation over the past 200 years,” said Anna Weinstein, director of marine conservation for the National Audubon Society. “Just last year, California adopted a herring fisheries management plan that set a national example through preserving coastal areas that support ecosystems while storing carbon.  Natural solutions that capture carbon dioxide are a win-win for coastal birds like Brown Pelicans.”

The bill would provide much-needed research and funding for federal agencies to gauge the potential for coastal ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their stems, branches, leaves, roots, and soils. Coastal ecosystems are vulnerable to climate change and are disappearing quickly, putting both birds and people on the coast at risk of sea level rise and increasing storms and flooding. The Act would also set a goal of protecting 30 percent of coastal habitats by 2030.

“Coastal ecosystems like marshes, mangroves, and seagrasses not only provide important habitats for birds and other wildlife, but they also serve as important carbon sinks that will be critical in helping the U.S. meet its carbon reduction goals.,” said Dr. Karen Hyun, vice president for coastal conservation at the National Audubon Society.

Audubon’s recent report, Survival By Degrees: 389 Species on the Brink, found that two-thirds of North American birds are threatened with extinction by climate change if warming continues at its current pace. According to our research, limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius would give 76% of at-risk bird species in North America a significantly improved chance of survival. Capturing carbon through natural ecosystem functions is the most cost effective way to achieve the goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.


About Audubon
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media contact: Jason Howe,, 415-595-9245

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