Despite no national carbon market, voluntary carbon markets have matured in small pockets in the United States, as organizations continue to carry out internal emission reductions in conjunction with the purchase of carbon offsets and compliance markets move along in California. Despite these gains, don’t expect offset development at the federal level; forestry, land use and other types of offsets are likely to be shut out of the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations.
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25 August 2013 | Corporate experience with the voluntary carbon market is maturing in small pockets in the United States, most recently evidenced by the several years of carbon neutrality racked up by US-based organizations like
By the looks of it, it won’t be long before California emitters start building up experience with offsets in the compliance market as well. Last week
While this may provide a positive signal for other project developers looking to feed offsets into the California cap-and-trade program, the broader outlook for the acceptance of offsets continues to be slow at the federal level despite the professed support for compliance flexibility by the Obama administration. Forestry, land use and other types of offsets
“We don’t think EPA can or should allow true offset credits, say offsets from land or emissions reductions from other sectors,” says Dan Lashof, Director of the NDRC’s climate and clean air program. “We think that the universe of measures that have to be considered need to be limited to measures that have a direct impact on the emissions from the fossil fuel generating units.”
That said, the Obama administration will be supporting such offset projects through other programs as part of its efforts to ensure the US follows through on its emissions reduction pledge. Obama’s Climate Action Plan highlights REDD+ and addresses the role of the US in mitigating carbon emissions by reducing agriculture-driven deforestation. According to Lashof, other US agencies such as the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture run a range of programs designed to increase soil sequestration and to protect forests that could support offsetting projects.
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