Thursday, 04 June 2009 12:11

New Forest Carbon Offsetting Survey

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The IPCC estimates that deforestation and forest degradation are responsible for 20% of global warming pollution; meaning any comprehensive solution to global warming must incorporate a way to reduce our emissions and keep trees in the ground. Emissions trading schemes like RGGI and CCAR already incorporate provisions that allow for forest based carbon offsets, and in the voluntary carbon market foresty related carbon offsets have been popular for years for a variety of reason. But what does the future hold for trees in the world of carbon offsets? A new survey seeks to shed light on exactly that question. A survey released by EcoSecurities, Conservation International (CI), ClimateBiz and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) entitled The forest carbon offseting survey 2009 overviews the entire background of forest carbon offsets and provides great insights on what the future might hold. The highlights and insights from the survey include:
  • Avoided deforestation (91%) and reforestation with native tree species (89%) were rated the most desirable forestry projects in regards to carbon results;
  • South America (78%), Africa (71%) and South East Asia (69%) are the three most desirable regions to purchase forest carbon credits;
  • The Clean Development Mechanism (64%) and the Voluntary Carbon Standard (60%) were rated as the most desirable standards when purchasing forest carbon offsets;
  • Participants highlighted the most important factor when purchasing forest offsets are carbon standards (91%), closely followed by experience and credibility (87%);
  • In comparison to Europe (19%), companies in North America (50%) are much more willing to pay up front for carbon credits that will be generated more than five years from now;
  • Benefits to local communities (89%) and the global scale of the problem (77%) have been the key motivational factors for adopting offsets from forest carbon projects.
This survey reinforces some of the anecedotal evidence that Carbonfund.org has been compiling from its donors for years. The forest based projects that our donors choose to support have strong community co-benefits, are validated to the highest third party standards (some are validated to two!), and produce real and additional reductions in global warming pollution. By recognizing deforestation's role in global warming and understanding the preferences of the people supporting these projects, we can work to develop more projects that meet environmental goals and appeal to donors. Fighting global warming will require a lot of wind turbines and solar pannels, but it will also require us getting dirty, planting trees, and helping communities in the process.
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