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Advanced Study Institute 2.0 on Blue Carbon

  Following the great success of last year's workshop, the Advanced Study Institute (ASI) titled “Blue carbon and the role of coastal sea in carbon sequestration” was held at HKUST for the second time from May 13th to 14th. The ASI is supported by a grant from the Croucher Foundation to Professor Hongbin Liu. The main theme of the meeting is to share regional and global information and latest research efforts on blue carbon resources. It has brought around 60 participants in total all around the world, including a number of prominent scholars in the field to Hong Kong during the two-day session. Officers from the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) and researchers from Hong Kong also attended.

After an opening address given by Professor Hongbin Liu, the two-day conference commenced with a series of presentations from a diverse array of lecturers and guest speakers. During the meeting, the keynote lectures covered several critical topics, including assessment and utilization of blue carbon ecosystems and related processes, and the concept of blue carbon market as a tool for climate change mitigation. We also reviewed both regional and global research efforts on blue carbon assets, alongside various mechanisms and pathways of carbon sequestration in the ocean.

Between each talk, participants actively engaged in discussions, raising insightful questions that often sparked lively debates. These interactions contributed to a clearer understanding of the issues and helped identify potential future research directions. Tea breaks and meals offered further opportunities for guests from various nations and fields to deepen their connections and exchange their ideas. Fruitful conversation among attendees continued even outside the workshop.

  Most importantly, efforts were made to enhance international collaboration on blue carbon research and to integrate Hong Kong into extensive national and global programs of carbon reduction studies, such as the Ocean Negative Carbon Emission (ONCE) led by China. Our objective is to establish a working group to assess the carbon stocks and burial rates of different blue carbon ecosystems, including mudflats, seagrasses, and mangroves, as well as the coastal waters of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area. We will also study the biogeochemical processes along with physical, chemical, and anthropogenic factors that influence the carbon sequestration capacity of the coastal ecosystems. With this information, we aim to come up with an estimate of the amount of carbon that the coastal sea could sequestrate, thereby contributing to the government’s goal to reach carbon neutral in 2050.

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