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Fin McCarron: How Wakehurst is fighting climate change

Fin McCarron (International Programme Manager at CEN)

Net zero doesn't mean zero emissions. To achieve our climate goal, we need to reduce our emissions drastically and use carbon capture and storage to offset our remaining emissions.

We know plants and soils can capture and store greenhouse gases, but we need better data to determine how much they can hold and what affects their ability to sequester emissions.

On a visit to Kew Garden's Wakehurst site, a group of the Conservative Environment Network team saw the scientific research underway to get this data and inform nature-based solutions for climate change.

Just meters from a musical interpretation of 'the Jungle Book' in the botanical gardens, we visited an unassuming field where some of the most exciting work in Wakehurst is being done.

In this ordinary field, three machines measured the amount of carbon stored in soil and how much greenhouse gases organisms created. At the same time, scientists used a drone to measure the carbon stored in trees using lasers, building up a record of carbon storage trends over time.

This research will be crucial to determining how carbon credit schemes - allowing companies to pay to offset the emissions they can't avoid - will work in the future.

By measuring this field and several other sites, scientists at Wakehurst can help establish baselines for landscapes and prove whether an action like planting trees or planting new species actually does store carbon.

With accurate measurements, companies will be able to quantify and sell units of carbon storage while at the same time restoring nature in our landscapes.

Their research will not only form the bedrock of our climate policies but help create a whole new market, creating jobs in rural communities and new revenue streams for landowners. A true conservative market-led solution to climate change.


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