UBC Undergraduate Research

In search of standards for forest carbon offset projects in BC : a review of Georgian and Californian state standards Iverson, Chad


Forests represent both, one of the strongest drivers of, and solutions to, the rapid shift in the earth’s climate. Integrating the use of forests as a cost effective solution into emerging global carbon markets however has proven extremely difficult. The incentive for companies to utilize carbon credits as a means to offset emissions is heavily dependent upon the credibility of the project that created it. The difficulty proving the credibility of forest projects is largely due to the inherent variation associated with forest environments. British Columbia’s pine beetle epidemic provides an extreme example of just how quickly vast carbon sinks can suddenly become sources. As such, the creation of standards to ensure the security of carbon sequestered by forest projects has proven to be instrumental in encouraging their acceptance into the market. British Columbia has recognized that its forests play an integral role in its contribution to the global carbon cycle. As a result, heavy consideration is being made as to how this resource may be integrated as a source of carbon offsets for its own Cap-and-Trade market. This will mean establishing specific standards for forest projects in a BC context. This report reviews two regional standards from the states of Georgia and California, which could be applied as templates for a set of BC specific protocols for forest carbon sequestration projects. It is intended that through a comparison and analysis of these standards that potential problems faced in applying similar standards here will be identified.

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