DU’s Carbon Program is designed to assist landowners with
taking advantage of the expanding carbon offset markets. Our objective is to bring industry and
landowners together by assembling carbon offset credits associated with
grassland or forest restoration and/or preservation on private lands. Beyond the carbon savings, this effort has
the opportunity to provide more income to landowners and further DU’s
conservation mission by increasing waterfowl habitat in our priority areas.
Today's Carbon Market
Over the last decade, the carbon markets in the US have seen
both highs and lows. The well-known
Chicago Climate Exchange was North America’s only voluntary, legally binding
trading system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, operating at large from 2003
to 2010. Today, the voluntary carbon
trading markets remain strong and are managed more independently through
industry-approved registries. The state
of the voluntary carbon market (2015) was recently reviewed and summarized by
Taking effect in early 2012, the State of California
instituted a regulatory GHG reduction system in the form of a cap-and-trade
program. This is the only regulatory market
in the country at this time, although credits generated from outside the state
are eligible for sale within the California program. Additional information can be found here.
DU's Carbon Trading Efforts To Date
DU has long understood that our habitat work has many other
benefits beyond waterfowl. Proactively
protecting at-risk grasslands and wetlands can preserve below-ground carbon
reserves and avoid such emissions that would likely have occurred. Similarly, restoring grasslands and wetlands
can sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, however the quantification can be
more challenging than simply measuring existing levels belowground.
To date, DU has successfully developed and verified two
large carbon projects under the premise of proactively protecting threatened
grassland and avoided emissions. The
first project was approved by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity
Alliance in early 2009. The second major
carbon trading effort based on avoided emissions took place on prairie
grasslands in North Dakota and was executed through the American Carbon
Registry in the fall of 2014. The
project resulted in the validation of nearly 40,000 carbon offsets—the
equivalent of taking 5,000 cars off the streets. The entire portfolio of credits was purchased
by Chevrolet, and the monumental sale was highlighted in a press event by
Undersecretary Bonnie of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Senator
Stabenow of Michigan.
DU continues to investigate additional carbon trading
opportunities that align with our habitat goals, including carbon savings in
bottomland forests, a variety of wetland habitats, and strategic management of agricultural
production systems (ex. rice fields).
If you are a landowner or carbon offset buyer interested in
learning more about DU’s carbon program please feel free to contact us.
Interested in partnering with DU? Contact us today.