Ecoinformatics for biospheric carbon sequestration

This initiative will explore opportunities for developing an Ecoinformatics Network for Biospheric Carbon Sequestration. This biospheric component is the dynamic portion of the carbon exchange attributable to biological activity, comprises the largest portion of the carbon emissions to the atmosphere, yet is not adequately represented in the existing carbon markets that emphasize static approaches to measuring biological carbon stocks. Until this can be addressed, the carbon market cannot fully assess the market value for carbon, leading to inaccurate market signals, and reducing the effectiveness of carbon policies. While several monitoring technologies exist and are in use by the scientific community to address this dynamic biospheric component, the resulting information needs to be translated into a common format for use by the carbon markets. The initiative addresses this untapped opportunity by proposing to develop an integrated Biospheric Carbon Index (BCI) that can address the dynamic biospheric component currently missing from the existing carbon market. The BCI and the supporting informatics network offer opportunities to stimulate carbon monitoring industries, provide scientifically-sound basis for measuring and certifying biospheric carbon sequestration (e.g. carbon offsets), and improve carbon sequestration policies. The approach is transformational in that it offers a pathway to integrate a science-based monitoring approach with a segment of the carbon market (biospheric carbon offsets) through novel partnerships. The stakeholders who can benefit from this partnership include industry, scientists, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations interested developing certifiable methods for biospheric carbon sequestration. Potential markets - including the monitoring industries, the carbon markets themselves, and the networked software tools for developing the BCI - will be addressed through our proposed business plan.

Both Canada and California have strong resource-based economies (e.g. forestry, agriculture, and fisheries) that depend upon biological carbon sequestration, and these industries are now threatened by climate change. This represents an opportunity to enhance the informatics technologies for monitoring biospheric carbon in a way that can lead to improved resource management and help maintain these industries. Additionally, this initiative represents an opportunity for growing knowledge-based “green industries” and development of highly qualified personnel to support the development of the monitoring industries and the related Ecoinformatics tools. By developing a clear index (the BCI) based on current technologies, the initiative can provide carbon policy direction that could assist Canada and California in developing sustainable “green” economies.


Click here for the full proposal (pdf)