Japan to study 'blue carbon' for emissions trading

Japanese officials have begun discussing the conservation of what is called "blue carbon" coastal ecosystems as a way to combat global warming.

Blue carbon is carbon dioxide captured and stored by seagrass and other coastal plants through photosynthesis.

It is highlighted as an effective measure to prevent global warming just like planting trees and growing forests on land.

Japan's land ministry has launched a panel of experts to study how to promote the blue carbon ecosystems to curb emissions.

At the panel's first meeting on Thursday, ministry officials explained a plan to conduct a survey by the end of March next year at 125 ports across the country. They will measure how much carbon dioxide is absorbed by seagrass and other coastal plants.

The ministry plans to promote the conservation of tidal wetlands and seagrass beds, which will lead to the increase of seagrass and other coastal plants.

Officials anticipate carbon dioxide removed by the activity would be traded as emission credits. They are aiming to establish such a trading system.

Coastal conservation projects are already going on at three ports, including Yokohama and Kobe. The panel agreed to allow selling on an experimental basis emission credits that are earned through these projects during this fiscal year, and find out if there are any problems to be solved.

It also plans to compile guidelines for blue carbon emissions trading.