Australian Blue Carbon Method released

The Clean Energy Regulator, Australia’s agency tasked with reducing greenhouse gas emissions, announced the Blue Carbon Method in January 2022. The method provides landholders with incentives to restore coastal wetlands by reintroducing the tide to lands where tidal influences have been reduced by installed barriers (e.g., tidal gates, bund walls and levees). Projects will be awarded Australian Carbon Credit Units, which can be sold to the government or others interested in offsetting emissions.   


The method uses an abatement model (called the Blue Carbon Accounting Model or BlueCAM), developed by a team of Australian scientists led by Professor Cath Lovelock at CBCS/The University of Queensland. Emissions avoided from prior land use and carbon sequestered in biomass and soils are both modelled, with different values used for different climatic regions and for different coastal wetlands (mangroves, saltmarsh, seagrass, supratidal forests and high intertidal salt flats), reflecting the high diversity of coastal wetland ecosystems around Australia. Guidance for how to undertake a hydrological assessment before starting any project is also provided (in the Supplement) as well as other technical documents. All are available here.

The method complements other international blue carbon methods (e.g., VERRA VM0033) to incentivise restoration of coastal wetlands, and provides a new modelled approach to estimating GHG reductions that can reduce costs associated with implementing projects.

A simple method guide is provided at the link given above, and recommended as a good place to start to understand the method.

Carbon sequestration and emissions avoidance covered by the blue carbon method. Graphic from Understanding your blue carbon project: simple method guide, p. 5.

Project members

Professor Catherine Lovelock

School of the Environment
ARC Laureate Fellow