Tuesday April 9, 2024


Climate change in the media is often represented through evocative images of polar bears on small floating ice rafts and bleached corals—stark white skeletons in the wasteland of a once-thriving marine community. Besides being diverse ecosystems, coral reefs have a vital role in dissipating wave energy to protect coastlines from erosion and natural disasters, as well as being important sources of tourism income for the local economy. Amidst ongoing research into coral reef degradation, scientists are investigating innovative strategies to incentivize change.

A collaborative research team from numerous Chinese universities, led by Yuntao Bai of Shandong Management University, has focused on carbon trading to determine how this can help in reducing pollution, establishing protected areas and managing fisheries. Carbon trading references the sale of credits that allow companies to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in order to limit overall emissions.

The new study, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, generated three models to assess the effectiveness of using carbon trading to incentivize action by governments, through to local communities. The first considered marine pollution, referencing plastic pollution, plus sewage and wastewater discharge from cities and agriculture.

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