‘Blue carbon’ refers to the carbon storage potential of coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrass beds. These ecosystems can sequester carbon at higher rates than many terrestrial ecosystems and also play an important role in biodiversity conservation, protecting coastlines and coastal economies.
Australia founded the International Partnership for Blue Carbon at the 2015 Paris climate talks. This partnership includes a range of governments and non-government organisations. Australia emphasises this as an important part of its climate work – an event on blue carbon is one of just three side events energy minister Josh Frydenberg will attend at the COP23 climate talks in Bonn.
While efforts to protect coastal ecosystems are very important for biodiversity conservation, local economies and climate adaptation and mitigation, the carbon impact of Australia’s initiative is minimal in the context of Australian climate issues.