Skip to content

Oregon Cap and Invest Should Allow Aggregation | Scorcher

Published: November 20, 2017 by Editorial Team

Sheldon Zakreski, The Climate Trust
Weekly Policy and Finance Update – November 20, 2017

Bottom line | Aggregation allows small landowners to access carbon markets without sacrificing necessary safeguards.

The State of Oregon established several working groups to advance debate and find common ground on designing a carbon cap and invest bill. The Agriculture, Forests, Fisheries, Rural Communities, and Tribes Work Group became the focal point for discussing the role of offsets in the Bill. This Group recently asked whether a cap and invest program in Oregon should allow for aggregation of offset projects. It was surprising to hear one commenter oppose aggregation on the grounds it was akin to mortgage backed securities. While large financial institutions pushed for a way to split and combine multiple mortgages into an opaque financial product, in carbon markets it’s largely nonprofits pushing for aggregation.

A strong reason to support aggregation is that environmental markets and the safeguards they employ often make it too costly for small projects to access the market; leaving only medium and large projects to take part. Aggregation, by contrast, allows the pooling of several small projects into a single project to streamline management and spread the costs over several project sites. Therefore, aggregation has the promise of overcoming an access barrier by reducing the costs small landowners would face in the carbon market. This can be done without sacrificing safeguards, as auditors can review documentation verifying each landowner’s participation in the aggregated project, and conduct statistically significant sampling of data combined with random site visits.

Opening the market to small landowners is something that should be supported and encouraged in Oregon. A policy that can achieve the dual goals of promoting rural economic development, while generating offsets that can help contain the costs associated with capping greenhouse gas emissions, is worth developing.

Research and Resources

Ducks Unlimited’s Carbon Program
Ducks Unlimited, 2017

Programme of Activities
Wikkipedia, 2017

Forest Health-Human Health Initiative
American Carbon Registry, 2017

Top News Headlines

How US Land Owners Can Tap Carbon Markets In Trump Era
Brian Kittler, Ecosystem Marketplace, January 21, 2017

Opening Carbon Markets to New Participants
Mik McKee, Triple Pundit, August 3, 2015

Nothing But Clear Skies Blog

Aggregation of Offsets Critical for Rice and Agricultural Sector
Robert Parkhurst, Environmental Defense Fund, May 27, 2014

Recent Scorcher

Positive Winds of Climate Policy Sean Penrith, Nov 13, 2017
Leveraging the Private Sector for Scaled up Emissions Reductions Sheldon Zakreski, Nov 6, 2017
A New Phase of Development for California Dairy Digesters Peter Weisberg, Oct 30, 2017

Image credit: Flickr/Bemep