Thursday, October 23, 2008

Time to Roll Up Your Sleeves, Time to Work on Forest Offsets

I'm in Wasthington D.C. for two days of meetings about forest carbon offsets. I was invited down by the American Forest and Paper Association to join its new Forest Carbon Standards Committee. What I didn't fully appreciate until getting here is that the AF&PA is proposing to kick off a process for developing a formal standard for forest carbon offsets that would be recognized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Canadian Standards Association (CSA - CSA was here as an observer to consider participation).

Let me say that again with more gravitas: the American Forest and Paper Association is proposing that this committee should develop *the* standard for how forest offsets are treated across the US and Canada. It wants this standard to be of 'compliance quality' so that it could be picked up by regional/provincial/state and federal regulatory bodies in both countries. In other words: there's a new, big game in town.

How big and how important will depend on who participates, whether agreement can be reached and how good the standards are that result. Either way, it's time to roll up the sleeves because answers on how to do forest offsets (good or bad) are starting to flow: the Canadian federal system will soon be accepting proposals to develop forest offsets; the Western Climate Initiative has established a sub-committee that will review forest offset protocols; the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the California Climate Action Registry have proposed new rules for forest offsets, and this AF&PA process will try to develop a 'bin-national' standard that could influence or replace all these others.

I'll write more after the meeting tomorrow.

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