On the sidelines of the eighth day of the United Nations climate summit in Dubai, COP28, China has hosted an event to discuss the protection of the ocean.

The ocean is a crucial environment, storing approximately 93 per cent of the Earth’s carbon dioxide and absorbing nearly 40 per cent of human emissions since the Industrial Revolution.

China is proposing a reduction in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere by utilising the capacity of the ocean to absorb and store carbon.

Academic at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jiao Nianzhi, says China can be a key player in finding solutions on ocean negative carbon emissions:

“China possesses unique characteristics and advantages. We must make use of these strengths and advantages, and contribute to the causes of global consensus which are related to a community with a shared future for mankind. [To achieve this goal], we need to make good use of science, establish a solid foundation, understand the underlying mechanisms and processes, and carry out ocean negative carbon emissions in a reasonable, fair, lawful and effective manner to increase carbon absorption and alleviate the impacts of climate warming.”

Much has been made of China’s involvement in climate change, and their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Ocean, Peter Thomson, has commended China’s desire to deal with the healthy situation facing the ocean: “What we’re doing is universal and it’s global, because the problems of the ocean are not confined to one or two countries. It’s a universal, global problem. The health of the planet depends on the health of the ocean. And the ocean’s health is currently, measurably in decline. So, we all have to fix it. So, I’m so happy that China is heavily engaged.”

The World Meteorological Organisation has also praised its progress.

Abdulla Al Mandous, President of the W-M-O, says:”I think China is playing a big role on this early-warning and for all, and we really value [and] appreciate their work, their technologies, and their advancement on this initiative. I think China is doing a good, great job on this, and they are taking really things very seriously with the solar power and the renewable energy. And I think they are going in the right track.”

But despite those glowing remarks, China still has its critics when it comes to climate efforts.

China is one of three nations, alongside Russia and Saudi Arabia, who oppose a full phase out of fossil fuels – while more than 80 countries are pushing for a broad pact to phase out all CO2-emitting fossil fuels.