The Venice lagoon, with the San Giorgio Maggiore island and church, on May 6, 2019. Photographer: Tiziana Fabi/AFP via Getty Images

Venice Lagoon’s Carbon Sink Eyed as Living Climate Lab

Scientists, economists, and artisans in Venice have joined forces to quantify the economic value of protecting its lagoon as a carbon sink, hoping their data can drive policy decisions as climate change threatens the iconic Italian city.

The lagoon surrounding the island city draws in more than $1 million worth of carbon every year, according to figures released this week by the nonprofit We Are Here Venice, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Padova and the University of Cambridge.

The lagoon’s wetlands act as a natural carbon sink by storing carbon in plants and soil instead of releasing it to the atmosphere.

The study will allow those making future development decisions to take into account the economic costs of anything that reduces the lagoon’s carbon sequestration capacity, said Jane da Mosto, executive director of We Are Here Venice, which advocates for “evidence-based approaches to policy making.”

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