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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

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The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

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Featured Pathways

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The Science of Climate Change

Climate change is no longer a distant threat or just a possibility, it is now a reality for all of us. In this pathway, Kevin Trenberth, a renowned climatologist, delves into the science behind climate change. He first introduces the climate system, its main components and forces.

Tackling the Plastic Crisis

Plastic pollution is by far the biggest threat to our oceans and this remains an incredibly tough problem to solve. Plastic credits could potentially serve as one of the much needed solutions for this crisis.

More pathways

Ready to get started?

PLANS & MEMBERSHIP

Our Platform

Expert led content

+1,000 expert presented, on-demand video modules

Learning analytics

Keep track of learning progress with our comprehensive data

Interactive learning

Engage with our video hotspots and knowledge check-ins

Testing & certification

Gain CPD / CPE credits and professional certification

Managed learning

Build, scale and manage your organisation’s learning

Integrations

Connect Sustainability Unlocked to your current platform

Featured Content

More featured content

The Scale of the Net Zero Challenge

The price of meeting net zero is estimated to be between $100-150 trillion over the next 30 years. Regardless of this cost, we need to reach net zero before climate change does irreversible damage to the environment and the economy.

ESG, Sustainability and Impact Jargon Buster

ESG, sustainability, impact… they all just mean green, right? Not quite. Despite being used often interchangeably, there are distinct differences between these terms.

More featured content

Ready to get started?

Ready to get started?

What is the (Carbon) Value of an Elephant? (Case Study)

What is the (Carbon) Value of an Elephant? (Case Study)

Ralph Chami

CEO & Co-founder: Blue Green Future

In the previous video, Ralph discusses the carbon value of a whale and reinforces the importance of wildlife in our ecosystem. In this video, he highlights the significant carbon storage role of African forest elephants in climate change mitigation, emphasising their value beyond the ivory trade and the necessity of integrating such natural services into financial markets for conservation and sustainable development.

In the previous video, Ralph discusses the carbon value of a whale and reinforces the importance of wildlife in our ecosystem. In this video, he highlights the significant carbon storage role of African forest elephants in climate change mitigation, emphasising their value beyond the ivory trade and the necessity of integrating such natural services into financial markets for conservation and sustainable development.

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What is the (Carbon) Value of an Elephant? (Case Study)

10 mins 8 secs

Overview

The African forest elephant, known as the "mega-gardener of the forest," plays a vital role in carbon capture. These elephants store substantial carbon in their bodies, with each mature individual containing about 2.64 tonnes of CO2, valued at around $166 after discounting. Furthermore, their activity in the forests, particularly grazing on smaller trees, promotes the growth of larger trees that sequester more carbon. If the forest elephant population returned to its historic levels, it could stimulate a net increase of carbon capture by an estimated 13 metric tons per hectare, translating to a potential value of $150 billion for the recovered population. This value far exceeds the market price of their ivory. Unfortunately, due to poaching and deforestation, their numbers have dwindled, emphasising the need for conservation efforts in the fight against climate change and biodiversity loss.

Key learning objectives:

  • Understand how the new framework for valuing services provided by wild animals can be applied to the African forest elephant

  • Outline the value of the contribution towards climate sequestration that African forest elephants provide

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Summary
How do African Forest Elephants aid in climate change mitigation?

The African forest elephant plays a dual role in carbon sequestration. Firstly, these elephants inherently store carbon, with an average mature elephant holding roughly 2.64 tonnes of CO2, valued at about $166 per elephant based on the market carbon price.
Carbon value of an elephant calculations
Secondly, by selectively grazing on smaller trees, they enhance the growth of larger, denser trees that sequester more carbon. Studies in the Congo Basin demonstrated that elephant-impacted areas have significantly larger trees and higher biomass. If forest elephants rebound to their historic numbers, they could stimulate a net increase in carbon capture of 26 tonnes of carbon per hectare. This increased carbon capture, valued using the average market price, amounts to over $175 billion, making each elephant's ecological contribution worth over $1.75 million, vastly outvaluing their ivory.

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Ralph Chami

Ralph Chami

Ralph Chami, a 32-year-old financial economist, has been at the International Monetary Fund for 23 years and is currently the Assistant Director of the Institute for Capacity Development. He founded Blue Green Future, a strategy to combat climate change and biodiversity loss, focusing on species like whales and elephants as allies. Ralph has experience working with low-income and fragile states, providing policy advice, training, and capacity development on macro-financial economic policy. His expertise includes remittances, inclusive growth, financial markets development, banking regulation, and valuing natural capital.

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