There are plenty of good reasons to protect whales for their intrinsic value. The fact that these majestic animals also provide benefits to the environment and to the economy – especially in the form of carbon offsets – is just a bonus. As climate change wreaks havoc on the planet, whales are a bright spot in the sea. They sequester massive amounts of carbon dioxide and also contribute to the health of phytoplankton, another species with significant carbon-capturing capabilities.
“When it comes to saving the planet, one whale is worth thousands of trees,” the authors of a new International Monetary Fund paper wrote. Watch the video above to see how economists calculated that a whale is worth more than $2 million, and learn more about what you can do to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales here.