With the Paris Climate Conference underway, environmentalists are abuzz with excitement over the prospect of a binding international agreement to mitigate climate change. Prospects for success are bolstered by unprecedented international cooperation. For example, in 2014, the U.S. and China exhibited leadership by jointly announcing their carbon emission targets (See http://1.usa.gov/1LeZjgJ).
Conversely, some few have decried a focus on climate action as irresponsible given the “uncertain” state of the science. Some U.S. Presidential hopefuls have argued that spells of cold winter weather negates the international scientific consensus that climate change is real and a threat to humanity. (See http://bit.ly/1VaYZnT). Further, others have opined that regulating carbon emissions will damage the economy. (See http://uscham.com/1Xy2aae).
We believe that good science and creative lawmaking can help build markets to help organizations “make money while doing good”. One market based mechanism for climate mitigation is carbon forestry offsetting. It has long been known that standing biomass sequesters carbon. These agroforestry projects create a commodity—the carbon credit—that can be purchased by polluters to offset carbon emissions. The effectiveness of any given carbon offset project is strongly influence by site-specific factors such as ecological successional stage and plant species composition (See http://bit.ly/1N3vRFZ). For instance, recent empirical research has demonstrated that in the tropics, shade tolerant trees sequester a greater amount of carbon than short-lived pioneer tree species (http://bit.ly/1NHhjBE).
Although further empirical research is necessary to measure the extent of climate mitigation achieved by carbon offsets, it is clear that planting trees offers a myriad of co-benefits that can help localities adapt to the deleterious impacts of climate change. In my recent publication, The Evolving “Nature” of Environmental Risk: A Responsible Approach for Commercial and Residential Real Estate, I discussed how Green Infrastructure can help to reduce stormwater runoff, energy demand, the urban heat island effect, and increase an overall sense of environmental awareness (http://bit.ly/1Qe8vBT).
Fortunately, a great deal of funding is available to pursue such projects to mitigate and adapt to climate change (See http://1.usa.gov/21uYPZh). SMPIL Consulting offers the expertise to pursue climate grants, and provides the empirical support to administer your organization’s adaptation and mitigation project. It is our firm belief that together, we can achieve a SMPIL solution to the threat of climate change.