January 8, 2021carbon carbon markets climate change forestry greenhouse gases policy
There’s a transition coming to the White House, and forests and climate change will be a large part of it.
In late 2020, the Climate 21 Project drafted a series of transition memos highlighting recommendations and opportunities related to climate change and the federal government’s response. The Climate 21 Project includes the insights of over 150 experts with government expertise related to climate change.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) memo recognizes the role that the forestry and agriculture sectors play in climate mitigation and adaptation. It describes investments in climate change that USDA can make. The memo also recognizes the importance of forestry and agricultural businesses that support rural economies.
Forest carbon, specifically the role it plays in climate change, is a large component of the memo. Here are several recommendations and opportunities listed in the Climate 21-USDA memo that highlight forest carbon:
Establish a Carbon Bank to invest in natural climate solutions The Carbon Bank would “incentivize and reward” carbon sequestration through better land management. The Carbon Bank would purchase carbon from forest landowners and offer a guaranteed price for producers. A mechanism to support this Bank currently exists under the US' Commodity Credit Corporation.
Improve collection and analysis of data on carbon across the US. Recommendations include improving data collection related to carbon sequestration and storage. Importantly, recognizing the role of conservation and management practices to climate resilience and profitability is mentioned. Highlighted programs that currently exist include the Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis and the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Natural Resources Inventory.
Establish a Wildfire Commission. This commission is recommended to include state and federal leaders to address issues surrounding the growing threat of wildfires. The Commission would seek to increase forest restoration efforts on federal, state, tribal, and private forest lands.
Expand Rural Development programs to invest in the rural economy. Specifically, the recommendation is to expand efforts to create additional demand for bioenergy. This includes demand for wood energy and biofuels. Low value timber and wood residues is mentioned as a form of biomass energy.
Increase funding for USDA climate science research. Increased funding levels for USDA Climate Hubs, Forest Service and NRCS research programs are highlighted.
Fund climate-smart land management practices. Funding USDA conservation programs to include climate adaptation along with conservation are noted. Specific programs mentioned include Environmental Quality Incentive Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and the Conservation Reserve Program.
There are a number of recommendations and opportunities listed that relate to forest carbon and the role that forests have in climate mitigation and adaptation. Read the Climate 21-USDA memo to learn more.
By Matt Russell. Sign up for my monthly newsletter for in-depth analysis on data and analytics in the forest products industry.