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Scottish Government Appointment

Professor Bill Austin, from the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) at the University of St Andrews, has been appointed Chair of the Scottish Blue Carbon Forum and will lead the Scottish Government’s work in this area as it responds to the challenges of the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis ahead of major international climate negotiations at COP26.

Commenting on his appointment, Bill said: “It’s a great honour for me to be able to support the work of the Scottish Government and to influence the blue carbon research and policy agendas across Scotland and beyond.”

Blue carbon, which refers to the carbon stored in marine habitats such as saltmarshes, plays a vital role in trapping and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) that would otherwise contribute to global warming. These marine ecosystems are highly effective at capturing CO2 and storing carbon in organic-rich soils, often over thousands of years.

The degradation or damage of these ecosystems may therefore cause carbon to be released from the soil stores back to the atmosphere, at the same time compromising their ability to capture and store carbon in the future.

Bill also provides blue carbon advice to the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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