Next steps for carbon accounting from coastal “blue carbon” ecosystems

IUCN and partners issue additional technical considerations to the 2013 IPCC Wetlands Supplement during the Bonn Climate Change Conference taking place from 8 - 18 May, 2017.

Photo: © TNC/ Ethan Daniels

Recent science has provided us with better information about how much carbon is stored, or released, due to various management activities in coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrasses and saltmarshes. However, in order to develop concrete policy and management responses, as well as to provide rigorous numbers into national and global greenhouse gas accounts, these ecosystems need to systematically become part of the official GHG inventories that countries submit under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

In 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with expert input from IUCN and the Blue Carbon Initiative (jointly coordinated with Conservation International and UNESCO-IOC) issued the 2013 Supplement to the 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories: Wetlands (“Wetlands Supplement”). This document was created to provide GHG accounting methodologies for wetlands, inland and coastal, and hence to support the inclusion of emissions and removals from these ecosystems in national GHG inventories.

In the lead up to the Bonn Climate Change Conference, taking place from 8-18 May, countries were invited to submit their views on the application of the 2013 Wetlands Supplement. To that effect IUCN, together with Conservation International, UNESCO-IOC and TNC, has produced additional technical considerations for UNFCCC Parties to reflect on and discuss during the current session.

The aim is to encourage countries that have coastal wetlands to start applying the 2013 IPCC Wetlands Supplement to account for the mitigation potential from these ecosystems in their national GHG inventories, and to incorporate them into their National Determined Contributions (NDCs). Further, IUCN and partners suggest the UNFCCC and IPCC consider holding a technical workshop to further share experiences in applying the Wetlands Supplement, specifically in advance of the UNFCCC Global Stocktake and the 2019 Refinement to the IPCC Guidelines.

For more information, please contact Dorothee Herr 

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