An index to compare each country's CO2 emissions to the absorption ratio of their oceans. This metric enables countries that contribute most to carbon offsetting to enhance their representation in international initiatives and to leverage their ecosystem services.






7.95 billion


$125 trillion


Since CO2 has no boundaries, it means that the ecosystem services of countries with lower emissions absorb the emissions of top producers worldwide. This has a significant impact on their territories, livelihoods, and economies.

At LAIA, we question: why should countries that produce less CO2 have to bear the burden of top CO2 emitters?

To understand this challenge, we propose the Ocean Carbon Absorption Index, or OCAI, an index designed to visualize the nations that contribute the most to the global carbon offset through their oceans. The OCAI serves as a guideline to inform entities and policymakers about the need to reward and support nations indirectly carrying the heavy load of global carbon offsetting. This index introduces a new metric that compares a country’s CO2 emissions to the absorption ratio of its oceans. The study focuses on the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and the CO2 produced by each nation.

By employing existing methods to measure global CO2 emissions, this index is updatable and capable of tracking the countries that contribute the most to carbon offsetting. In this case, we observe that most Pacific Island nations receive higher ratings. This is because they contribute minimally to global carbon emissions while absorbing a significant amount. Consequently, their ecosystems, particularly their oceans, are overwhelmed by the carbon absorption burden.

The introduction of carbon credits in 1997 with the Kyoto Protocol and later the concept of blue carbon credits brings new opportunities to countries in the Pacific Islands. These credits reward initiatives that contribute to additional carbon offset and conservation projects of existing ecosystem services.

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