Clegern said the program guarantees prevent issues identified by CarbonPlan.
The California offsets are seen as additional carbon reductions because the floor serves as a “conservative safety net,” Clegern said. Without it, he explained, many landowners could have operated at even lower levels in the absence of offsets.
Clegern added that the agency’s rules were adopted following a long process of debate and have been upheld by the courts. A California Court of Appeals found that the Air Resources Board had discretion to use a standardized approach to assess whether projects were additional.
But the court did not rule independently on the effectiveness of the standard and was “fairly respectful of the agency’s judgment,” said Alice Kaswan, professor of law at the law school of the United Kingdom. ‘University of San Francisco, in an email.
California law requires state cap-and-trade regulations to ensure that emissions reductions are “real, permanent, quantifiable, verifiable” and “in addition to any other reductions in gas emissions. greenhouse effect that would otherwise occur. ”
“If there is new scientific information that suggests serious questions about the integrity of offsets, then arguably CARB has an ongoing duty to consider this information and revise its protocols accordingly,” Kaswan said. “The agency’s obligation is to implement the law, and the law requires additionality.”
In early spring, Lautzenheiser, the scientist from Audubon, brought a reporter to a forest protected by the compensation project. The trees here were mostly tall white pines mixed with hemlocks, maples and oaks. Lautzenheiser is usually the only human in this part of the woods, where he spends hours hunting for rare plants or keeping an eye out for stream salamanders.
The nonprofit organization’s planning documents recognize that forests listed in the California program were protected long before they began to generate offsets: “A majority of the project area has been conserved and designated as high value forest. of conservation for many years with deliberate management focused on nature in the long term. resource conservation values. “