India’s Blue Carbon Potential - ORF - 30/12/22

Environmental Experts suggested that India must adopt blue-carbon solutions if it intends to emerge as a global climate leader. India’s commitment to its 2070 net-zero target entails that it must explore all blue carbon interventions to their fullest.
-The term “blue carbon” refers to the carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems.
-The so-called blue carbon ecosystems – mangroves, tidal and salt marshes, and seagrasses – are highly productive coastal ecosystems that are particularly important for their capacity to store carbon within the plants and in the sediments below.

->Significance of Blue Carbon in mitigating climate change:
-Large 7,500+ kilometers-long coastline: India could presently have about 5,000 sq. km of mangroves, 500 sq. km of seagrasses, and around 300 to 1400 sq. km of salt marshes.
-Mangroves, seagrasses and salt marshes can capture carbon dioxide (CO2) up to 20 times greater than any other terrestrial ecosystem, including boreal and tropical forests.
-Coastal ecosystem’s total carbon sequestration potential has been estimated at around 700 million tons of CO2 about 22 percent of India’s annual carbon emission.

->Challenges in utilization of India’s blue carbon potential:
-The ‘Nature’ journal mentions India as a ‘blue carbon wealth recipient country’ instead of a blue carbon ‘donor’
-Coastal ecosystems erosion due to :
Extreme weather events
High rate of urbanization
Conversion of land into agriculture and aquaculture
-India’s ‘Long-Term Low-Carbon Development Strategy’ document submitted to the United Nations Framework -Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is not focusing on blue carbon opportunity.
-The absence of a clear pathway for the restoration of blue carbon storage assets can be a major source of carbon emissions in the future.

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