Astoria, Oregon commits to less aggressive timber harvest to monetize on carbon offsets

30 January 2015

ASTORIA, Ore. — In an innovative trade-off, Astoria has agreed not to aggressively harvest timber in the Bear Creek watershed over the next decade in return for carbon credits that could help industrial polluters offset carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to climate change.

The city is partnering with The Climate Trust, a Portland nonprofit that would purchase the carbon credits. Utilities with fossil-fuel driven power plants pay the trust to find projects that offset pollution and meet the requirements of Oregon’s landmark emission standards law.

By committing to a less aggressive timber harvest at Bear Creek, Astoria could receive about $358,750 in carbon credits after expenses this year and about $130,000 annually for the next nine years. The first year has the most significant potential value because it is based on the city’s existing inventory of timber, while the value for the following years is tied to growth.

“We commit to harvest less than what we could and we then can monetize that,” said Michael Barnes, the city’s consulting forester.

Read more from Capital Press