Kew galvanised into action over carbon sinks

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew director Professor Steve Hopper says climate change is "galvanising" Kew to instigate a Breathing Planet programme for Kew and its international partners to implement a way forward for repairing and restoring carbon sinks.

Hopper told HW: "The big issue at Copenhagen from Kew's perspective was the green side of dealing with carbon emissions. We have not lost sight of the opportunities for applying plant-based solutions to the challenges we all face. "I was pleased to see Prince Charles speaking about deforestation and that there's a focus on a mechanism for dealing with that at conference, which we applaud.

"It would be a significant step forward if we could achieve a situation where forests were valued more alive than dead.We are helping to implement a way forward for repairing the carbon sinks."

Hopper said the Breathing Planet programme was planning to launch at the end of 2010. He added that the initiative was "a way of focusing on Kew's strategic business and aligning that with the challenge of dealing with climate change and loss of biodiversity".

The Kew Foundation has instigated a feasibility study on funding from private philanthropy and corporate support. Kew costs £52m to run annually, half funded by Defra.

Hopper added: "The scientific evidence suggests we're heading for a worst case scenario projection for climate change of 6 degsC temperature increases by 2010."


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