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Holding of an Experts Forum to Obtain International Certifications for Blue Carbon

Date. 2021-12-06
Hit. 194

- Holding of an international forum to discuss strategies for acquiring international certifications for blue carbon, including for tidal flats –

 

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF; Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok) announced the holding of the International Certification Strategic Forum for Blue Carbon Sinks on December 7th (Tuesday) at Best Western Hotel Jeju to share trends in domestic and global blue carbon policies and to discuss ideas on obtaining international certifications for non-vegetative tidal flats as new carbon sinks.

 

* Blue Carbon: refers to the carbon absorbed by the marine ecosystem, including sediment and plants inhabiting the coasts, such as tidal flats, seagrass, and halophytes.

 

Planned during the Carbon Neutrality Week (Dec 6~10), the forum will be hosted under the theme of ‘delivering marine carbon neutrality through tidal flats and blue carbon’ where diverse discussions are to take place to obtain international certifications for various blue carbon sources, including tidal flats. The event will be held simultaneously online and offline, with more than 20 domestic and global experts and government officials from the fields of climate change and blue carbon participating on site.

 

In the upcoming forum, the policy trends on climate change and blue carbon around key nations, including Korea and the US, will be shared, and presentations will be given by experts on the role of Korean tidal flats as carbon sinks and the strategy for obtaining international certifications.

 

Moreover, the forum will also provide an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students in Korea majoring in the field of oceanology to learn about the roles and importance of blue carbon in terms of Korea’s carbon neutrality.

The Project to Build a Blue Carbon Information System and R&D of the Evaluation Management Technology (2017-2021), supported by the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, revealed that the tidal flats of Korea are responsible for absorbing 260,000 tons of CO2 annually. This roughly translates to the amount of CO2 emitted by 110,000 vehicles per year in Korea.

 

However, once a statistical system is implemented to calculate national greenhouse gas emissions by identifying the sources of the emissions and their respective emission volumes, the current IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, regarded as the international standards, will pose limitations as they only recognize salt marshes, mangroves, and sea grass beds as marine carbon sinks. As non-vegetative tidal flats, which make up most of Korean tidal flats, are not defined as carbon sinks in the Guidelines, there are limitations on utilizing the tidal flats of Korea as sources of blue carbon.

 

Therefore, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries plans to carry out joint research and international cooperation activities starting from 2021 to expand the salt marsh area in Korea by rolling out new projects to restore vegetative tidal flats and to have non-vegetative tidal flats certified as a new type of carbon sink. Moreover, the Ministry will continue R&D efforts to identify new blue carbon sources to follow in the footsteps of tidal flats and investigate their carbon absorption capacities. These additional certifications and expansion of blue carbon sources are expected to contribute significantly to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

 

Director General Yoon, Hyun-Soo from the Marine Environment Policy Bureau of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries stated that “it is now time to extend discussions on carbon sinks from a previous focus on land to the oceans” and that “this forum will serve as a venue to carry out discussions on blue carbon to raise interest in the international community and mark a turning point in terms of enhancing cooperation with nations interested in having tidal flats recognized as official carbon sinks by international organizations in the near future.”