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How to Incorporate Blue Carbon into the China Certified Emission Reductions Scheme: Legal and Policy Perspectives


  • Xin-Wei Li

    (School of Law, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian 116026, China)

  • Hong-Zhi Miao

    (College of Transportation Engineering, Dalian Maritime University, Dalian 116026, China)


Blue carbon, the carbon sequestered in vegetated coastal ecosystems, is a potential and practical approach to combating climate change. Many countries have committed to integrating blue carbon into the climate change law and policy framework. As a significant carbon-emitting country, China has abundant blue carbon resources but suffers a significant loss of coastal habitats. Therefore, blue carbon should become a primary focus in China’s climate change law and policy. Given the successful experience in terrestrial biosequestration projects, the inclusion of blue carbon into China’s carbon trading market can be an essential move and is the primary purpose of this paper. The China Certified Emission Reductions (CCER) scheme is an effective supplementary mechanism to the national carbon trading market. To incorporate blue carbon into the CCER scheme, this article first analyzes the legislative framework underpinning the CCER scheme and indicates some critical factors, including methodology, project boundaries, legal rights, additionality, project period, and crediting period. Subsequently, the article discusses these critical factors in depth to identify legal issues that may emerge and provides several feasible solutions. (i) Dedicated methodologies need to be developed for blue carbon projects, which include a broader definition for carbon abatement activities. (ii) The new national marine functional zoning should delineate zones for the purpose of developing blue carbon projects. (iii) The current authorization system for the right to use sea areas could be used to secure a legal right to develop blue carbon projects. (iv) Additionality requirements should be appropriately adjusted. (v) Extended project periods and crediting periods would be needed. This article offers novel pathways for including blue carbon in China’s climate change law and policy framework, thus contributing to achieving its 2060 carbon neutrality goal.

Suggested Citation

  • Xin-Wei Li & Hong-Zhi Miao, 2022. "How to Incorporate Blue Carbon into the China Certified Emission Reductions Scheme: Legal and Policy Perspectives," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(17), pages 1-15, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:14:y:2022:i:17:p:10567-:d:896747

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stelzenmüller, Vanessa & Lee, Janette & South, Andy & Foden, Jo & Rogers, Stuart I., 2013. "Practical tools to support marine spatial planning: A review and some prototype tools," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 214-227.
    2. Douvere, F. & Maes, F. & Vanhulle, A. & Schrijvers, J., 2007. "The role of marine spatial planning in sea use management: The Belgian case," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 182-191, March.
    3. Thomas, Sebastian, 2014. "Blue carbon: Knowledge gaps, critical issues, and novel approaches," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 22-38.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haiqing Hao & Xue Yang, 2022. "China’s Carbon Market in the Context of Carbon Neutrality: Legal and Policy Perspectives," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(18), pages 1-18, September.

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