Thursday, June 18, 2009

Watching U.S. Climate Bills - Money to Forest Carbon Protection

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (The 'Waxman-Markey bill' (summary)) includes provisions to use 13% of money from allowance auction revenues to support additional investments in clean energy and energy efficiency. Although protecting forest carbon isn't included in this list, a parallel piece of legislation attempts to fix this: The Buy American Carbon Incentives Program of 2009. The aim of this bill is "to establish a carbon incentives program to achieve supplemental greenhouse gas emissions reductions on private agricultural and forestland of the United States, and for other purposes."

Funds would be delivered through climate mitigation contracts for activities that:
  • "measurably increase carbon sequestration and storage over a designated contract period through management activities on eligible lands; and
  • maintain carbon sequestration and storage and avoid future emissions through permanent avoided conversion agreements on eligible lands."
This scheme is complementary to offsets and projects/activities would not be eligible for both.

Any thoughts on this? Has this kind of thing been proposed in any other jurisdictions? I certainly think it would be a great policy option for Canada's federal and provincial governments: finance forest carbon protection through the use of auction revenue set asides from cap-and-trade systems.


Chris Henschel said...

Note that the Waxman-Markey Bill also includes provisions for using auction revenue set asides for domestic and international adapatation.

dave said...


Does this apply to federal lands as well, or just private forest holdings?

Chris Henschel said...

Hi Dave,

Thanks for the question. I've looked at the Bill again and found this definition. Sounds like only private lands... I think if one wanted to apply it on public lands, it would just have to take a different form (not contracts):

(3) ELIGIBLE LANDS- The term `eligible lands' means agricultural and forestland in the United States that is privately owned at the time of initiation of a climate mitigation contract.

Jim Bouldin said...

Thanks for making me aware of this Chris, and for your blog in general, which I just learned about. I'll be following.

This looks like a promising development.

Chris Henschel said...

My pleasure Jim! I'm glad you're interested. Where did you learn about the blog?

Anonymous said...

The first bullet is basically IFM, and somehting that our work is beginning to suggest holds great potential to increase standing carbon stocks - we are modeling EBM timber strategies and carbon budget stocks to try and find optimal levels of both. Moving to "continuous cover" forestry really need a financial incentive and this would be a good vehicle for that.
Keep up the postings Chris, they help keep us in the picture,

Jim Bouldin said...

Chris: there was a link to your story at The Way Things Break (a good blog IMO).

Chris Henschel said...

That's great Jim, thanks for letting me know!

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