Capturing Carbon — Frequently Asked Questions
Mass Audubon has enrolled 10,000 acres of our forests in a CARB Improved Forest Management project, the first of its kind in Massachusetts. Since the carbon stored in these acres exceeded the regional average value, we were awarded more than 600,000 offset credits, which were then sold on the CARB carbon offset market.
Find answers to frequently asked questions below, or read more about this project.
Are there any alternatives to cap and trade?
An alternative carbon pricing mechanism, a carbon tax, is a Mass Audubon legislative priority for Massachusetts.
Aren’t you just allowing businesses to pollute?
No, because there is a cost associated with offsets. Therefore there is still a financial incentive for them to reduce emissions to avoid the need for offsets.
California is an innovative leader in addressing climate change. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) market is the best available option for us, as it is rigorous and verifiable.
Will you sell more?
There is a potential for Mass Audubon to sell additional offset credits periodically based on incremental growth of the enrolled forest, providing modest income that could further support sanctuary stewardship and operations.
What happens if there is a natural disaster?
The project contributed a substantial portion of its offset value to a mandated buffer pool. If an insect outbreak, fire, or other event causes the carbon stocking value in the project area to drop below its original value at the start of the project, offsets will be withdrawn from the buffer pool to cover the difference.
What will you do with the money?
The funds will be used for monitoring to ensure the forests continue to meet the applicable requirements for carbon storage. The revenue will also support participating wildlife sanctuary endowments as well as climate-related stewardship, advocacy, and education, increasing our impact in confronting this unfolding environmental crisis.
Who bought the offsets?
Offsets were purchased by a European market participant for trade to entities operating in California.