New cash splash on blue carbon: Plibersek

Tracey FerrierAAP
Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek says 'blue carbon projects' will restore coastal ecosystems.
Camera IconEnvironment Minister Tanya Plibersek says 'blue carbon projects' will restore coastal ecosystems. Credit: AAP

The federal government will fund five new blue carbon projects around Australia and has also promised help for Pacific neighbours.

Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek has addressed delegates at the UN Ocean Conference in Portugal, saying coastal ecosystems are crucial in the fight against climate change.

So called blue carbon ecosystems including mangroves, seagrasses and tidal marshes are highly effective sinks that can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere faster than most land ecosystems.

But up to half of the world's coastal ecosystems have vanished over the last century, costing the planet a important weapon in the war against warming.

"Later this week, our government will ... announce five new domestic blue carbon projects. These projects will restore mangroves, salt marshes and sea grasses across our coasts, around our nation," Ms Plibersek has told the conference.

She said the projects, at unnamed locations, would help increase carbon sequestration and mitigate against flooding while also increasing marine biodiversity.

The minister also promised ongoing help to help support blue carbon projects in the Pacific, and said Australia was firmly committed to the creation of a global coalition for blue carbon.

The minister enjoyed a warm welcome at an event on the sidelines of the conference, prompting cheers and applause when she said Australia had had a change of government.

"Under the new Australian government, the environment is back - front and centre," Ms Plibersek said.

The French ambassador for polar and maritime issues Olivier Poivre D'Arvor told delegates the election result had reset bilateral relations.

"Thanks to the new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his minister for the Environment Madame Tanya Plibersek the Franco-Australian friendship is back," said.

Mr Albanese will visit Paris later in the week at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron to heal the rift between the two countries after the former Coalition government scrapped a $90 billion submarine contract.

Australia has since said it will pay French company Naval Group about $830 million to settle the matter.

Instead, Australia is now pursuing a nuclear-powered submarine agreement with the US and UK under the AUKUS partnership.

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