Presentation on theme: "Expanding Participation by the Forest Sector in Greenhouse Gas Registries and Markets Richard Birdsey USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station Presented."— Presentation transcript:
Expanding Participation by the Forest Sector in Greenhouse Gas Registries and Markets Richard Birdsey USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station Presented at National Landowner Assistance Meeting, 5 October 2006
Overview Climate change and carbon Registries and markets How to increase participation Case study Decision support needs
Importance of Climate Change to Agriculture and Forests Natural resources are potentially vulnerable to climate change Agriculture and forests are important sources and sinks of greenhouse gases –Agriculture contributes 6% of US emissions –Forest sinks offset 12% of overall emissions Carbon sinks offer a potentially significant low- cost opportunity to address climate change
From Pacala and Socolow in Nature 2004 Emissions scenarios To stabilize CO 2 at 500 ppm Options to achieve stabilization Reduce emissions Renewable energy Forestry and agriculture Carbon capture and storage 21st Century Challenge: Stabilize Atmospheric CO 2 Concentrations
Potential Role of Forests in Mitigating Greenhouse Gas Emissions U.S. forests remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere –200 million tons per year (10% of U.S. fossil fuel emissions) It is feasible to increase the rate of carbon sequestration in forests –Plant more trees –Maintain healthy forests –Manage productivity Forest Products –Biomass energy –Use more wood Increasing carbon stocks in U.S. forests (from Heath et al.)
The United States Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gases The National Greenhouse Gas Registry In 2002, the President directed Secretaries of Energy and Agriculture to revise guidelines for reporting Registry may support a market for transferable credits Take into account emerging domestic and international approaches Implementation Program is voluntary Develop new targeted incentives for carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas reductions Research and development
Regional Initiatives on Climate Change (from the Pew Center)
Key Elements of National and State Greenhouse Gas Action Plans NationalStates/regions Voluntary*Mandatory Incentive basisEmissions allowances assigned Limited emissions tradingActive emissions trading* Emissions reduction and sequestration* Mostly emissions reduction Research commitment is substantial Research commitment is moderate Large potential for forestry *CCX
Who Cares About Forest Carbon Management? States, e.g. Maine, Pennsylvania, California, Texas, many others AF&PA, some timber companies Electricity producers Conservation Organizations (e.g. TNC) National Arbor Day Foundation Management and restoration of Lower Mississippi bottomland hardwoods (Cooperative) Southeast Pennsylvania tree planting initiative (Cooperative) City of Baltimore Chicago Climate Exchange
How to Increase Participation Include a wide variety of forestry activities Establish consistency among registries and markets Develop decision-support tools and processes Identify realistic case studies and “early adopters” Identify opportunities in the private sector
Include a wide variety of forestry activities in emerging registries Afforestation Mine land reclamation Forest restoration Agroforestry Improved forest management Short-rotation biomass energy plantations Forest preservation Wood products management Urban forestry
Establish consistency among registries and markets Definitions Accounting standards Reporting requirements Could a single report satisfy the requirements of more than one registry? Can reports be filed with more than one registry?
Develop decision-support tools and processes Basic methodology is available but not necessarily accessible or easily used Transaction costs for monitoring, reporting, and verifying may be high relative to the value of carbon credits for forestry Simple, transparent, and easy-to-use models can be developed from existing methodology
Identify realistic case studies and “early adopters” Carbon management activities and projects in the forestry sector are taking place Examples with strong potential for widespread application: –forest restoration –afforestation of marginal cropland –improved management of small forest tracts –substitution of wood for other materials that use more energy to produce –use of wood for biofuel. Develop education and outreach materials to heighten awareness of promising options
Identify opportunities in the private sector U.S. policy for greenhouse gas management is likely to involve a market approach Finding ways to support private enterprise is an important aspect of increasing participation There is a large cadre of consulting foresters that specialize in supporting the needs for management planning and execution of plans Consider how public and private registries can effectively interact
The Charles Bulson Case Study Charles Bulson is interested in registering his forest with the Chicago Climate Exchange, but does not have estimates of annual change in carbon stocks. His consulting forester, Mike Greason, has completed a NED-1 inventory and management recommendations, but does not have methods to estimate forest carbon. Mr. Bolson contacted Richard Birdsey to inquire about the availability of a qualified person to estimate the annual carbon inventory. Dr. Birdsey agreed to review the inventory data to see if it could be converted to carbon estimates as a pilot test of methods for assisting private landowners and their consulting foresters to participate in greenhouses gas registries and markets.
The Property The 141 acre property in Upstate New York is an abandoned farm that naturally reverted to forest, and had a harvest of much of the maturing timber. The NED-1 inventory includes data for 9 distinct forest stands with different tree species composition, management history, and site characteristics.
Analysis Step 1 – calculate cubic feet per acre for each stand
Analysis Step 2 – calculate the initial carbon inventory
Results and Analysis The total carbon stock is estimated to be 7,786 metric tons The average annual carbon increment is estimated to be 99.1 metric tons. The methods used here are compatible with the estimation methods used by the Chicago Climate Exchange and the U.S. National Greenhouse Gas Registry Registering this forest with the Chicago Climate Change or another greenhouse gas registry will have additional requirements.