Improved Forest Management (IFM), Avoided Conversion (AC) and Mine Methane Capture (MMC) Projects lead to Carbon Credits
Carbon credits are part of the solution to global warming. A carbon credit is an instrument that people use to assign a commercial dollar to one metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions, so they can measure, buy, sell, and trade it. Carbon credit programs are now internationally adopted for voluntary and compliance markets, and credits are traded on numerous exchanges worldwide. World Wide Carbon, LLC has traded on many of these markets, however, our main focus is producing credits for the Western Climate Initiative Compliance Market. IFM, AC, and MMC are Western Climate Initiative Protocols which provide a framework for measuring and verifying greenhouse gas emissions destroyed or sequestered and the subsequent issuing of carbon credits.
The mechanics of the carbon market as it relates to IFM, AC and MMC are simple. A carbon sequestration program is implemented on forested land or coal mines, subsequently lowering greenhouse gas emissions and generating carbon credits. The credits are then sold to companies to “offset” or reduce their carbon emissions from the atmosphere in another location. Effectively, the companies purchasing the credits are paying someone else to do what they can’t do or don’t want to do themselves.
Date: Nov 27, 2018
Author: Suzette Brewer
It’s an idea so simple that it sounds almost too good to be true: Tribes across the country are using their forest lands to generate income by selling carbon credits in the California emissions trading industry while preserving their lands for future generations.
“These type of projects focus on preservation of tribal natural resources while still being able to derive revenue,” says Bryan Van Stippen, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and program director for the National Indian Carbon Coalition, “even if a tribal entity has a commercial logging operation.”
California, which has the fifth largest economy in the world, launched its “cap and trade” program in 2013 with the goal of reducing greenhouse emissions to pre-1990 levels by 80 percent by 2050. Currently, 11 tribes from Alaska to Maine have received approval to participate in the program.
Based on the European Union Emissions Trading System that was enacted in 2005 to fight global warming, the carbon trading industry in North America is a market-based system designed to reduce pollution in the atmosphere by “capping” (or limiting) the harmful emissions of fuel companies and other big polluters that emit 25,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year or more. These companies can then buy carbon off-set credits from tribes and other entities to help meet their required goals.
According to the California Air Resource Board, carbon offset credits are sold at the state’s quarterly cap-and-trade auctions. Each offset is equal to one metric ton of carbon dioxide and sells for approximately $11 to $14 per credit, depending on market rates. The Passamaquoddy Tribe of Maine, for example, used nearly 100,000 acres of their forest lands to generate 3.2 million credits―which have been valued at between $35 and $45 million that they used to invest in other business projects.
Currently, there are two markets in the carbon credit industry: The compliant markets in California and the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario, which have joined together to allow businesses to buy credits issued within those jurisdictions; and a voluntary market which is used by companies, individuals and governments purchasing carbon offsets.
The compliant markets have certain restrictions and requirements for tribes—including a 100-year commitment and a limited waiver of sovereign immunity―that have dissuaded many tribes from participating in the program due to concerns over how their needs may change over time and what that may mean in regards to control over their lands.