URI Interim Business Dean Shaw Chen addresses the G20 panel at Blue Carbon | western

KINGSTON — Shaw Chen, interim dean of the University of Rhode Island’s College of Business, was in Bali, Indonesia, recently to deliver a keynote address to a G20 Development Working Group side event on “Blue Carbon: Enabling Conservation and financial capital”. “

The Group of Twenty – an intergovernmental forum of 19 countries and the European Union – was established in 1999 to address the biggest issues affecting the world economy, including financial stability, climate change mitigation and sustainable development. Established about a decade later, the G20 Development Working Group allows member countries to come together to promote action on a wide range of issues facing developing countries, especially low-income countries.

Invited by Indonesia’s Ministry of National Development Planning, Chen addressed the United States’ experience in implementing policies promoting blue carbon — carbon captured and stored in the world’s oceans and coastal ecosystems that reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

“Blue carbon ecosystems can be a powerful means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” Chen said. “Mangroves, tidal flats, seagrasses and other kelp forests are capable of storing carbon dioxide in both the plants and the sediment below for thousands of years.

“One of the priorities for achieving climate resilience is a comprehensive climate change mitigation program and disaster management strategy,” he added. “Mangroves and seagrasses are the key coastal ecosystems that store natural carbon. However, the vital role of blue carbon ecosystems has not received much attention.

The August 8 forum was central to fostering cooperation and engagement on a wide range of issues related to blue carbon finance and the need for funding from governments to implement mitigation measures, he said.

“It wasn’t the biggest event I’ve ever spoken at, but it was definitely one of the most significant,” Chen said. “I was the only keynote speaker from the United States on the G20 panel and the only academic to share about the opportunities and challenges of implementing US blue carbon policy”

His presentation at the conference was made more remarkable, he said, by seeing that it came just hours after the US Senate passed a $430 billion bill that includes funds to fight climate change.

In his presentation, Chen advocated for the U.S. to develop a national blue carbon sequestration policy and strategy, establish priorities for ecosystem restoration, and assess barriers to their restoration. While countries and regions have played a vital role in tackling climate change, national and international responses to such a huge problem are needed, he said.

“Governments and intergovernmental organizations are among the most significant funders of climate action, but growth in public investment is slowing,” he said. “I encouraged an increase in the strategic approach of private sector climate investment.”

The popularity of sustainable investment strategies is helping to motivate investment in the private sector climate, he said. Banks have also played a more important role in brokering sustainable and green debt instruments and started a broader trend towards setting climate targets.

“Carbon finance increases the financial viability of cutting-edge projects, generating an additional revenue stream and enabling the efficient transfer of technology, knowledge and experience,” he said. “It provides a means of attracting new public and private investment in projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally, including in transition economies and developing countries.”

Chen, Professor of Management Science and Alfred J. Verrecchia-Hasbro Inc. Chair of Business Leadership, has a broad range of experience in operations management, decision modeling, and finance and strategy. He is a frequent speaker at academic and professional meetings and conferences, including international events such as the Foreign Direct Investment Summit organized by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China in 2004.

“A business professor must be an expert in many business disciplines,” he said, “including finance, innovation, policy, strategy, marketing, organizational behavior, entrepreneurship, human resources, supply chain and operations.”

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