CBE Summer Fellowship Final Reflection

1. What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?

In the short term, I helped EDF choose the Philippines as the focus country of their seaweed aquaculture program. Myself and two other interns chose selection criteria to apply to candidate countries. Then were each assigned countries to research and had to report back on how they graded out according to our criteria. The criteria included biological factors, environmental justice factors, and real world restraints. The biological factors were mainly how well species of seaweed would grow in the coastal waters of certain countries. The environmental justice factors were more complex. The hope is that eventually countries can use seaweed as a verified carbon sink in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Countries with low historical and per capita GHG emissions were favored, to give them a way to continue to develop their economies while still meeting mitigation goals. In a sense, we were looking for countries with a high marginal mitigation cost, that could benefit greatly from using seaweed and other blue carbon ecosystems in their GHG inventories. Real world restraints consisted of factors such as EDF presence on-ground, history of partnership between EDF and the country, and a cultural history of seaweed consumption. The Philippines scored well according to our criteria because it already grows and harvests the 4th most seaweed globally (strong cultural ties to seaweed), has a long working relationship with EDF, and has very low per capita and historical GHG emissions. The Philippines want to continue to develop its economy and infrastructure but also wants to commit to climate mitigation goals. Hopefully seaweed can allow them to accomplish both, while also providing a climate resilient source of food and income to local residents.

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EDF Mid-Internship Update

Hello again! I am back with an internship update. I am actually nearly finished with my time at EDF this summer, but wanted to give a quick summary of what I am working on before I report back with a post-internship review. 

I am currently working on my final deliverables. They have been a work in progress throughout my internship, but I am doing the majority of my writing/editing now. Previously I was mostly doing research, data gathering, expert interviews, and sitting in on day-to-day meetings at EDF. Our team ended up choosing the Philippines as the target country for EDF’s seaweed program, so I have started working on a country specific seaweed aquaculture proposal, along with my more general seaweed-NDC roadmap.

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A Summer of Seaweed and Blue Carbon

Hello all! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. For my CBE Fellowship, I am working with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a large environmental non-profit headquartered in New York. I am working with their San Francisco office, and have been lucky enough to go to the office in-person a few times. The internship is hybrid, so I can also work from home when my tolerance for socializing is too low (the office has a running joke that we all need a re-socializing 101 course thanks to Covid). My official title is a Blue Carbon Research Intern, as I am focusing on blue carbon policy, specifically on the potential of including seaweeds and macroalgaes as blue carbon ecosystems. I am working with EDF’s Oceans team, under the supervision of Rod Fujita, Director of Research & Development of the Oceans Program.

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Benjamin Dorfman: Blue Carbon and Equity in Climate Solutions

Environmental Defense Fund
May 25th-August 12th, 2022
San Francisco, California, USA

The goal is to determine the feasibility of quantifying blue carbon within the territorial waters of less developed countries that have contributed little to climate change yet are bearing the brunt of the adverse impacts of climate change to reduce the financial burden on these countries of complying with their climate stabilization commitments.

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