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Approval of First California Forest Carbon Offsets Proves Nature is a Solution to Climate Change

California now has the world’s largest carbon market with a role for forests


San Francisco, CA | November 13, 2013

The Nature Conservancy applauds today’s official approval of the first forest-based greenhouse gas reductions to be used to comply with California’s regulatory climate change program. These greenhouse gas reductions, or “credits,” are now acknowledged by the state’s greenhouse gas emissions trading (cap and trade) program. They create new market-based incentives for forest landowners to fight climate change by conserving forests to store more carbon, while providing a suite of public benefits including clean drinking water, recreation opportunities like hunting and fishing, and habitat for California’s outstanding fish and wildlife like salmon, owls, and furry weasels.

“Forests are a powerful tool in the fight against climate change,” said Louis Blumberg, California Climate Change Initiative Director for the Nature Conservancy. “Conserving forests is a Two-Fer when it comes to climate change. Saving forests prevents emissions of carbon pollution that contributes to climate change and it maintains the carbon storage benefit that forests provide right now,” added Blumberg.

Each year, California’s forests absorb about 7-8% of the carbon pollution emitted in California. “Today’s action is a major milestone in the evolution of climate change policy,” said Michelle Passero, Senior Climate Change Policy Advisor for The Nature Conservancy.

Implementation of California’s economy-wide cap and trade program creates the second largest carbon market in the world. Today’s action by the California Air Resources Board not only affirms the important role of forests and nature to combat climate change, but it effectively creates a new market for forest conservation.

Globally, destruction of forests produces about 15% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, roughly equivalent to the emissions of all the cars, trucks, and buses. “We can't solve climate change if we don’t reduce deforestation,” added Mr. Blumberg.


The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

Contact information

Lisa Park
The Nature Conservancy
(408) 821- 9255
lpark@tnc.org

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