Blue carbon accounting to monitor coastal blue carbon ecosystems

Jiawen Liu, Pierre Failler, Dindial Ramrattan

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In the global context, countries must reduce carbon dioxide emissions to "net zero" by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. China's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are to peak carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve the carbon neutrality target by 2060. To monitor the achievements of the NDCs, establishing an annual-based accounting mechanism is necessary to record the carbon stocks in China, especially for Blue Carbon. The paper aims to present China's first national-scale systematic Blue Carbon accounting for mangroves, salt marshes, and seagrasses, covering the accounting subjects of physical and monetary assets, as well as relevant indicators for investors. It focuses on the design of the accounting method and system, the selection of data categories applied to this system, and the application of China's Blue Carbon accounting based on this accounting system. Taking Blue Carbon accounting as a starting point, this paper analyses the restoration prospects of these ecosystems and their application potential for NDCs in China compared with the terrestrial ecosystems. The results indicate that mangroves are the most cost-effective type of ecosystem, even compared to terrestrial forests. Thus, the paper provides policymakers with a new perspective on the decision-making of carbon sequestration relevant decisions, aiming to promote the monitoring, restoration, and expansion of China's coastal blue carbon ecosystem through the establishment of a sound Blue Carbon accounting system, and to help achieve the carbon neutrality goal in China's NDCs through regular and systematic monitoring of its national Blue Carbon inventories.
Original languageEnglish
Article number120008
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date8 Jan 2024
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2024


  • natural capital accounting
  • blue carbon
  • carbon sequestration and storage
  • coastal blue carbon ecosystems
  • carbon dioxide emission

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