Stanford University

Counting California Forest Carbon Offsets

ClockSeptember 28, 2020

Christa Anderson & Jason Perkins

In 2016 and 2017, Christa Anderson (PhD) and Jason Perkins (MS-JD) researched the State of California's cap-and-trade forest carbon offset program. Their work was generously funded by the 2016-17 E-IPER Collaboration Grant from the Anne and Reid Buckley Fund. Christa and Jason's research led to:

  1. a policy paper for the State and the forest carbon program stakeholders,
  2. a public comment letter about the implications of their research for setting climate change mitigation goals in the State's Natural and Working Lands sector,
  3. a journal article in Environmental Science & Technology and
  4. another journal article titled "Forest offsets partner climate change mitigation with conservation" published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

This research drew on forest carbon project documents, project owner and developer surveys, and a series of interviews and site visits in California and the southeastern United States. Christa and Jason found that California's innovative forest carbon offset program has gone much further than past efforts to assure its projects represent measurable climate mitigation. For the most part, however, the environmental co-benefits (or costs) of offset projects are not being monitored.


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