Forests store vast amounts of carbon in vegetation and soils, and humans may be able to protect, manage, and restore forested ecosystems to protect existing carbon and also stimulate faster and greater uptake of atmospheric CO2. Carbon markets are responding to this potential: to date, carbon credits from forests are by far the largest contributor to nature-based offsets. As carbon markets grow, market participants are grappling with fundamental and complex questions of the best methods for measuring, reporting, and verifying CO2 removal from forest carbon projects. Forest carbon accounting is complex because of scientific, political, economic, and social uncertainty. To create transparency and foster credibility in compliance and voluntary forest carbon markets, market players have created voluminous monitoring, verifying, and reporting protocols that cover important metrics in carbon crediting like measurement accuracy and precision, additionality, permanence, leakage, environmental justice, transparency, and traceability. Yet, growing markets have led to growing critiques about carbon accounting methods, market stability, and environmental justice concerns.
This seminar series will explore the current state of carbon markets in the United States and ask major market players—including policymakers, registry developers, credit producers, forestland owners, corporate buyers, journalists, and academics—to address the question of “what makes a high-quality forest carbon credit?” and provide suggestions on how we can build credibility and trust in forest carbon credits.