|Climate Change & Greenhouse Gas Offset Protocol Development|
The Intersection of Climate Change Mitigation-Coastal Habitat Restoration-Climate Adaptation
Climate change--through a warming world, sea-level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and migrating species, both native and invasive--will significantly reshape our coastal landscape. In many ways, our coasts and estuaries are both the first line of defense and a measuring stick for climate change impacts. Coastal and estuarine habitat restoration is a key strategy in adapting to climate change, as well as mitigating its impacts.
Linking Carbon Finance to Coastal Habitat Restoration and Climate Adaptation
Restore America's Estuaries is leading an initiative to bring tidal wetlands restoration, protection, creation and avoided loss into the carbon markets. The restoration of tidal wetlands, salt marshes, mangroves and other coastal habitats offers significant potential for sequestering carbon. A national greenhouse gas (GHG) offset protocol/methodology for tidal wetlands activities will provide the means for project managers to develop offset projects in tidal wetlands and for climate registries to issue credits.
New!: "Gases, Grasses: Wetlands and Climate Change" The Environmental Forum, Volume 28, Number 4, July-August 2011)Gases, Grasses: Wetlands and Climate Change
Developing VCS Wetlands Requirements
RAE is leading a technical working group that will develop requirements for quantifying and crediting the greenhouse gas benefits of several new types of wetlands conservation projects under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) Program.
The VCS Program is a robust global standard and program that has been used to develop hundreds of greenhouse gas-reducing projects and millions of GHG credits validated and verified to recognized global criteria. VCS provides requirements for crediting various types of Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) projects, including those on peatlands, but has yet to develop requirements specific to crediting projects in other types of wetlands. The working group will draft requirements for crediting a range of wetlands project types, likely to include mangroves and coastal and tidal wetlands.
The working group, funded by New Orleans-based Entergy Corporation and KBR, is led by RAE in partnership with ESA PWA, one of the nation's foremost wetland restoration consulting firms headquartered in San Francisco, and Silvestrum, a Dutch-based firm that assists in the creation of carbon assets in land-use projects for compliance and voluntary markets worldwide. Leading wetlands scientists will contribute their expertise in core areas: Dr. Boone Kauffman is a mangroves expert with the USDA Forest Service; Dr. Patrick Megonigal is a wetland biogeochemist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; and Dr. Hans Joosten is a peatlands specialist with Greifswald University, Greifswald, Germany.
Additional support for the wetlands carbon requirements project will come from Dr. Igino Emmer of Silvestrum, lead-author of the VCS Afforestation, Reforestation and Revegetation requirements and the Peatland Rewetting and Conservation requirements. , will serve as the lead technical writer. ESA PWA’s Dr. Steve Crooks, a wetland scientist with international expertise in wetlands and carbon sequestration, will be the lead wetland scientist.
In May, the technical working group began to develop draft requirements for crediting the additional wetlands project types. By September, the group aims to complete a first round of draft requirements, governing issues such as defining eligible project areas and carbon pools, establishing baseline scenarios, quantifying GHG emissions reductions in project and baseline scenarios, monitoring and measuring of carbon stocks, and addressing leakage and other non-permanence issues. The draft requirements will undergo peer review, public consultation and revision before being incorporated into the VCS Program requirements.
National Blue Ribbon Panel
In 2010, RAE convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of experts to advise the development of a national GHG offset protocol. A GHG offset protocol/methodology will enable new private investment in coastal and estuarine habitat restoration. A tremendous potential exists for public/private partnerships to simultaneously restore our coasts and estuaries to health while mitigating climate change and meeting climate adaptation strategies. The Panel made several recommendations, which were published in the Findings of the National Blue Ribbon Panel on the Development of a Greenhouse Gas Offset Protocol for Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Management: Action Plan to Guide Protocol Development.
Blue Ribbon Panel Members: Stephen Crooks/Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd., Tim Dillingham/American Littoral Society, Abe Doherty/California Coastal Conservancy and Ocean Protection Council, Jette Findsen/Science Applications International Corporation, Kathryn Goldman/Climate Action Reserve, Patrick Megonigal/Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, Ken Newcombe/C-Quest Capital, Lydia Olander/Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions-Duke University, Brad Raffle/formerly of Conservation Capital LLC, Debbie Reed/DRD Associates, Diane Ross-Leech/Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Eric T. Sundquist/U.S. Geological Survey, Robert Twilley/Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration, and Michael Wara/Stanford Law School.
Action Plan to Guide Protocol Development, August 2010
Executive Summary - Action Plan to Guide Protocol Development, August 2010
“Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Typology Issues Paper - Tidal Wetlands Restoration.” Philip Williams & Associates, Ltd. and Science Applications International Corporation. Prepared for the Climate Action Reserve, February 2009.
Presentation - Public Stakeholder Workshop and Webinar, April 2010
Audio Recording - Public Stakeholder Workshop and Webinar, April 2010
“Wetland Grasses and Gasses: Are Tidal Wetlands Ready for the Carbon Market?” National Wetlands Newsletter, 32: 6-10. November/December 2010
"Gases, Grasses: Wetlands and Climate Change" The Environmental Forum, Volume 28, Number 4, July/August 2011
“Green Payments for Blue Carbon: Economic Incentives for Protecting Threatened Coastal Habitats.” Brian C. Murray, Linwood Pendleton, W. Aaron Jenkins, and Samantha Sifleet. Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Report NI R 11-04, March 2011. http://nicholasinstitute.duke.edu/economics/naturalresources/blue-carbon-report
“The Management of Natural Coastal Carbon Sinks.” Laffoley, D.A. and Grimsditch, G., eds. Glands, Switzerland: International Union for the Conservation of Nature, 2009. http://www.iucn.org/knowledge/publications_doc/publications/?4229/The-Management-of-Natural-Coastal-Carbon-Sinks
“Capturing and Conserving Natural Coastal Carbon: Building mitigation, advancing adaptation.” World Bank, IUCN, ESA PWA. 2010. (for Howard - http://siteresources.worldbank.org/EXTCMM/Resources/coastal_booklet_final_nospread11-23-10.pdf)
“Mitigating Climate Change through Restoration and Management of Coastal Wetlands and Near-shore Marine Ecosystems: Challenges and Opportunities.” Crooks, S., D. Herr, J. Tamelander, D. Laffoley, and J. Vandever. 2011. Environment Department Paper 121, World Bank, Washington, DC. (for howard - http://siteresources.worldbank.org/ENVIRONMENT/Resources/MtgtnCCthruMgtofCoastalWetlands.pdf)
Blue Ribbon Panel. Steve Crooks (2nd from right), Jette Findsen (right)
Project Sponsors: KBR; California Coastal Conservancy and Ocean Protection Council; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration; U.S. Geological Survey; Environmental Defense Fund; The Nature Conservancy; California Ocean Science Trust;and AECOM;
Additional Project Partners: Center for Collaborative Policy; CH2M HILL; Climate Action Reserve; Conservation Capital, LLC; Philip Williams and Associates; Restore America's Estuaries; Science Applications International Corporation; and The San Francisco Foundation.