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ARB approves first carbon offset forest project under its cap-and-trade program

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The California Air Resources Board (ARB) announced Wednesday that it has approved the first California carbon offset project under its cap-and-trade forestry offset protocol. The Yurok Tribe Sustainable Forest Project will generate almost 837 thousand metric tons of CO2 emission offsets on 8,000 acres of tribal forest land in Humboldt County.

Located entirely within the Lower Klamath River watershed and Yurok Ancestral Territory, the project will result in improved cultural and ecological impacts, as well as allowing for some logging, the generation of income from offset sales, and the development of higher value and larger trees.

Industrial and commercial entities who need to comply with California climate change regulations are allowed to purchase and use such ARB-approved offsets for up to 8 per cent of their CO2 reduction obligation. Such offsets usually cost less than ARB carbon allowances, whose price is determined at auction.

Because of the global, rather than regional, nature of greenhouse gas emissions and their effects, California businesses that are located far away from the project may purchase and use the offset "allowances" from the project. This would include oil and other energy companies, many of which are located here in Bakersfield and Kern County.

“This project will offer California companies additional opportunities to find cost-effective ways of complying with the cap-and-trade program,” said Air Resources Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. “It offers additional carbon reductions from a sector not covered by the cap-and-trade regulation, while providing financial resources to help the Yurok tribe restore its native lands and protect its watershed and habitat.”

Suggested further reading: 5 California fishing streams closed due to drought

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