What role do carbon protocols play in creating high quality forest offsets?
Carbon protocols function as the backbone of forest offset creation, by specifying key program design features such as project eligibility, permanence, and additionality. However, the protocol development process has inherent challenges, including the technical complexity of distinguishing the additional benefits of project activities from business-as-usual, the uncertainty involved in predicting project outcomes, such as growth rates and disturbance risk, the need to incorporate multiple stakeholder objectives, and the task of balancing competing goals, such as economic feasibility and program rigor. In this talk I will review the benefits and complexities of multiple models for protocol development, with a focus on the process we use at the Climate Action Reserve based on stakeholder-engagement. I will also explore the relationship between a forest carbon protocol and credit quality and will highlight innovations on the horizon that can help improve carbon market access for a diversity of forest landowners and project types, while maintaining high program integrity.
Dr. Marissa Spence - Forestry Manager, Climate Action Reserve
As the Forestry Manager at the Climate Action Reserve—an offset registry for global carbon markets— Marissa develops GHG protocols and provides support to projects undertaking monitoring, reporting, and verification. Marissa has been studying forest-based natural climate solutions since 2012. Her research has investigated how forest landowners can benefit from ecosystem markets, the production of co-benefits, and the role of carbon finance in forestland conservation. Marissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Metropolitan State University, a Master of Arts in Environment and Community from Humboldt State University, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota in Natural Resource Science and Management.