Thank you National Park Service for 100 Years of Nature!

Thank you National Park Service for 100 Years of Nature!

The National Park Service is celebrating its centennial birthday this year! We would like to thank America’s national parks for providing beautiful respites, outstanding recreation, and important ecosystem and historic preservation for communities across the country. Trips to national parks inspired our staff to become environmentalists, conservationists, tree-huggers, foresters, and climate scientists. Read about our favorite national parks below!

Pinnacles National Park


I’ve been to a lot of the big, splashy national parks (Zion! Yellowstone! Grand Teton!) but I have to say there is a special place in my heart for little-known Pinnacles National Park. I’ve been there several times and I just love it. Pinnacles is right off the 101 in the Salinas Valley, when you get near the Monterey area, so it is a great stop if you are on your way to some Central Cal adventures. It has some great day hikes and the scenery is spectacular. Caves too! As the name implies, it’s got lots of Pinnacles. If you like rocks, come here. It’s an exciting place for hardcore rock climbers but most of the fun stuff is accessed on easy trails.

Pinnacles was a national monument (established 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt) until President Obama signed into law, on January 10, 2013, the legislation from Congress to include it in the National Park system.

Grand Teton National Park


Grand Teton National Park: I think it’s pretty self-explanatory as to why it is so incredible, but I happened to catch the sunrise coming up over the mountains, which was a pretty awakening sight.

Yosemite National Park


Yosemite is my favorite National Park because of its incomparable beauty and its fundamental role in the creation of the National Park System.

Big Bend National Park


My favorite park is Big Bend National Park located in southwest Texas on the Mexico border. It’s hard to get there – 4.5-hour drive from El Paso, 6 hours from San Antonio – but the stark beauty and ecological contrasts make it well worth the trek. The Chisos Mountains within the park create a small island of diverse woodlands that’s usually 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding Chihuahuan desert, and the Rio Grande cuts a swath through limestone cliffs in the Santa Elena canyon. There are plenty of hiking trails in the park that take you through each of the biomes, with the South Rim day hike (~12.5 miles) being the most strenuous and rewarding. Bring lots of water!

Glacier National Park


Glacier National Park is my favorite park. The views in the winter, fall, and summer are unparalleled. I like the diversity of trail systems that caters to casual hikers or more intense backpacking/day hikes. It’s also a great resource for fishing and viewing different species of wildlife such as deer, elk, moose, and grizzly bears. This summer, while fishing, a beaver swam past me looking for the same thing I was. It’s always a surreal experience to see wildlife interacting with an environment outside of the confines of a city or suburban area.

Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree National Park: because the landscape is a little weird and prickly, a state of being with which I totally identify. The park is an earnest testament to strange beauty growing in harsh and unforgiving places. Also, and maybe most importantly, it’s one of the closest national parks to Los Angeles.

Olympic National Park


Right now, my favorite national park is the Olympic National Park. The diversity is incredible. It includes three distinct ecosystems – glacier-capped mountains, old growth rainforest and the ocean coast. Because of its location and isolation, there are several endemic species at the Olympic National Park. To be able to walk among the moss-covered old growth trees, gaze across the mountain range and see so many different animals in their happy, natural homes is very special.

Zion National Park


Zion! What I love about Zion (and all National Parks for that matter) is its transcendent, natural beauty that makes you realize how small you really are. I appreciate the National Parks Service’s conservation efforts since it is so important that future generations have the opportunity to experience what makes these parks so magnificent.

Denali National Park


How does one select a favorite park? They are all great! But I will offer up Denali. Seeing this view after hiking in the rain for hours made it all worthwhile. (35 year old photo!)

DHawai’i Volcanoes National Park


Hawaii is home to some of the world’s most awe-inspiring natural wonders, of which my favorite is the Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The park is a monument to the powerful forces of nature on our planet and highlights the importance of respecting the Earth’s scientific processes. Hawaii’s landscapes are currently top of mind as we’re working to add Hawaii to the next update of our forest protocol. I’m excited about the potential opportunities to support natural lands in Hawaii through reforestation, improved forest management, and avoided conversion. And of course, it’ll be important that we fully understand the baseline conditions, so I should probably go back for additional research soon.

Trailblazing in Washington with a Unique Approach to Capping Emissions

Trailblazing in Washington with a Unique Approach to Capping Emissions

There is a new pioneer in climate policy on the West Coast.  Washington secured a unique place for itself in the world of climate policy when the state adopted its Clean Air Rule on September 15.  The rule introduced individual caps for parties that are responsible for 100,000mt or more annually, and each cap decreases by an average of 1.7 percent of the baseline annually.  When the first compliance period begins January 1, 2017, 24 parties will be covered under the rule.

Approximately three-quarters of the emissions covered under the rule are indirect emissions that are difficult to reduce, so it is expected that covered parties will rely heavily on using options outside of reducing their direct emissions to meet their caps.  The Clean Air Rule allows for the use of Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) to meet compliance obligations and provides for a number of different ways to obtain ERUs.  One way that has already been proven as an essential component to California’s cap-and-trade program is the use of offsets.  Covered parties can convert Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRTs) from offset projects located in the State of Washington under the Climate Action Reserve’s Landfill, Livestock, Organic Waste Digestion, Organic Waste Composting and Nitric Acid Production Project Protocols to ERUs.  The Reserve has registered 11 offset projects that meet the Clean Air Rule criteria and has issued 755,437 CRTs to those projects to date.  For more information on those projects and credits, please see the below table.  Ecology has indicated it is likely additional offset project types may be included in future updates to the rule.

The Clean Air Rule was enacted under authority from the state’s Clean Air Act and will be a significant tool to help the state reach its emissions reduction goals of 1990 levels by 2020 and 25 percent below that by 2035.  As is expected for any regulation seeking to reduce emissions, several lawsuits on state and federal levels have already been filed against the rule.  The state worked closely with its large emitters in crafting the rule, and despite the legal challenges, capped entities have publicly expressed optimism about working with the rule.

Registered projects and CRTs eligible under the Clean Air Rule (as of Oct 10, 2016)

Project Project Developer Protocol Location Offsets
Cedar Grove – Maple Valley OWC Composting Project ClimeCo Corporation Organic Waste Composting King County, Washington 250,643
Cedar Grove Composting ClimeCo Corporation Organic Waste Composting Everett, Washington 128,445
Edaleen Cow Power, LLC Camco International Group, Inc. U.S. Livestock Lynden, Washington 17,053
Farm Power Lynden Anaerobic Digester The Climate Trust U.S. Livestock Whatcom County, Washington 30,426
Farm Power Rexville Regional Digester The Climate Trust U.S. Livestock Mount Vernon, Washington 71,610
George DeRuyter & Sons Dairy Origin Climate Inc. U.S. Livestock Outlook, Washington 131,618
Lenz Composting ClimeCo Corporation Organic Waste Composting Snohomish County, Washington 28,522
Rainier Biogas, LLC NativeEnergy, Inc. U.S. Livestock King County, Washington 3,101
Sudbury Road Landfill Gas Destruction Project City of Walla Walla U.S. Landfill Walla Walla, Washington 32,087
Vander Haak Dairy Environmental Credit Corp. U.S. Livestock Lynden, Washington 3,639
Washington Beef LLC Greenhouse Gas and Solids Reduction Project Washington Beef, LLC Organic Waste Digestion Yakima County, Washington 58,293

Policy Memo Released on Retiring ROCs/Converting ROCs to CRTs

Policy Memo Released on Retiring ROCs/Converting ROCs to CRTs

12 great quotes on the need to take climate action

12 great quotes on the need to take climate action

As Climate Week NYC kicks off bringing together influential global voices who are leading the low carbon transition, we would like to highlight some great ideas and quotes on the importance of our shared climate and planet. From astrophysicists to actors, scientists to world leaders, environmentalists to Republicans, there is consensus on the seriousness of climate change and the need to take action to protect our planet. Here are some of the quotes that we found the most inspiring, most thought-provoking, and most re-affirming in our mission to advance climate solutions.













For Cap-and-Trade, the Early Birds Got the Worms…or Credits

For Cap-and-Trade, the Early Birds Got the Worms…or Credits

California’s pioneering cap-and-trade program achieved an important and symbolic milestone yesterday when the California Air Resources Board (ARB) handed out the final issuance of ARB Offset Credits (ARBOCs) to early action projects. In total, 24,062,879 ARBOCs were issued by the program to early action projects, 22,105,093 (92%) of which came from projects registered with the Climate Action Reserve.

These early action credits served important functions for the start and advancement of the program. The volume helped provide an initial supply of offset credits, which made compliance more economic, lessened compliance costs passed down to consumers and encouraged emission reduction activities from non-capped sectors. The credits also recognized the value and impact of existing, high quality offset projects. Perhaps most importantly, ARB’s recognition of the value of early actions confirmed the wisdom and commitments demonstrated by many stakeholders to take positive actions on climate change before the cap-and-trade program was fully defined.

The majority of early action ARBOCs was issued to forest projects. The numerous benefits of forest offset projects and their charismatic appeal are well known. The Usal Redwood Forest project was the largest early action project, receiving the largest number of credits with over 4.6 million issued. The project previously earned recognition from the Climate Action Reserve when the Usal Redwood Forest Company of California (URFC) was awarded the 2015 Project Developer of the Year Award. The project achieved the highest level of emissions reduction of any project registered with the Climate Action Reserve that year.

It is projects like the Usal Redwood Forest project and many others that helped the cap-and-trade program get off to a solid start and create confidence for market participants. The Climate Action Reserve congratulates these projects and ARB in achieving today’s milestone.

Forest ODS Livestock Mine Methane Rice* Urban Forest
2013 1,640,262 1,938,052 71,154 0 0 0
2014 1,172,097 3,077,701 545,502 0 0 0
2015 4,893,207 1,157,002 863,553 768,633 0 0
2016 5,534,845 75,000 214,820 2,111,051 0 0
TOTAL 13,240,411 6,247,755 1,695,029 2,879,684 0 0

*Early action credits under the Rice Protocol may be issued through December 31, 2016.

Offset projects keep grasslands green in more ways than one

Offset projects keep grasslands green in more ways than one

Through USDA NRCS grant, Climate Action Reserve and partners revolutionize grasslands’ role in land conservation and carbon markets

LOS ANGELES, CA – Marking a key milestone for bringing grassland offset projects into the carbon market and strengthening their role in land conservation, the first two grassland offset projects have been listed with the Climate Action Reserve, North America’s leading offset project registry.  The projects, both from the Southern Plains Land Trust (SPLT), are pilot projects made possible through a USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG). The Reserve was awarded this two-year grant in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), K·Coe Isom, C-AGG, The Climate Trust and SCS Global Services.

“Through the Conservation Innovation Grants program, NRCS leverages environmental markets to achieve our mission of getting more conservation on the ground,” said NRCS Chief Jason Weller.  “This grassland CIG partnership demonstrates how carbon market payments can help ensure that grasslands remain intact, providing working lands grazing opportunities and valuable wildlife habitat while generating marketable carbon credits to an expanding domestic carbon market.”

Grasslands naturally absorb CO2 through photosynthesis and, with sustainable management and protection, can function as carbon sinks and reservoirs.  When grasslands are disturbed, a significant portion of the carbon stored in the soil and biomass oxidizes and decays, releasing CO2 back into the atmosphere.  Over half of the grasslands in the U.S. have been disturbed and converted to other uses, mainly cropland.  From 2008-2012, 5.7 million acres of grassland – an area roughly the size of New Hampshire – were converted to cropland.  When grasslands are converted to cropland, not only is the carbon stored in the soil released but emissions also increase due to cultivation activities, such as fertilizer application and fossil fuel combustion.

Through grassland offset projects, landowners have the opportunity to create a win-win-win situation.  Landowners earn offset credits for avoided conversion of their grassland.  By doing this, they protect and enrich their land through sustainable land management and they also make a meaningful contribution to addressing climate change.  The SPLT projects, Raven’s Nest and Heartland Ranch, are being developed with the assistance of EDF and The Climate Trust.  The two conservation easements combined will protect more than 15,000 acres of grassland in southeastern Colorado. More than 2,100 of these acres are under threat of being converted to cropland, generating GHG emissions far into the future.  These specific acres will generate offset credits, which can be sold for revenue in the carbon market, and SPLT can also continue earning revenue from ranching on the land.

“The grasslands protocol recognizes what many landowners in the southern Great Plains have understood since the Dust Bowl: it’s better to keep native grasslands ‘the right side up’ and not plow them under for short-sighted profits.  Making grassland preservation more financially attractive is better for both the region and the global climate,” said Nicole Rosmarino, Executive Director, Southern Plains Land Trust.

“This project not only helps the environment, it gives ranchers another income source,” said Robert Parkhurst, Agriculture Greenhouse Gas Markets Director, EDF. “Ranchers are able to maintain the land as a working grassland, while at the same time earning credits which can be sold into existing carbon markets. It is also one of the most straightforward and easy to use protocols I have ever seen.”

SPLT works to preserve the shortgrass prairie ecosystems of the Great Plains.  It plans to develop another offset project covering over 7,600 acres in 2017.  Because SPLT is a pioneer in participating in the NRCS CIG, a large portion of the costs for developing and verifying the projects are being covered by the grant, helping to increase the revenue for SPLT.

“Protecting grasslands presents a tremendous opportunity to make ranchers and land owners powerful forces in addressing climate change, and by using the carbon market as a tool to fund the protection, there is a win-win-win situation.  We are honored to work with SPLT and EDF on this pioneering initiative and commend SPLT for being a pioneer.  We encourage other ranchers and land owners to explore this opportunity, especially now when a significant part of their projects can be covered by the generous Conservation Innovation Grant from NRCS,” said Craig Ebert, President, Climate Action Reserve.

To learn more about grassland offset projects, please visit

Thank you for SB32

Thank you for SB32

Thank you for SB32

Ten years ago, the California legislature passed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, or Assembly Bill (AB) 32, a comprehensive climate bill requiring the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop regulations to cut the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Since AB32’s adoption and implementation, California has achieved significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and is ahead of schedule to meet its 2020 emissions targets. With smart and effective programs like the low carbon fuel standard, renewable portfolio standard, energy efficiency standards, and cap-and-trade program, California firmly established its role as a leading climate policy innovator. Protecting public health, environment, air quality, and global climate came with the important additional benefit of growing and strengthening the state’s clean tech and low carbon economy.

Yesterday, the legislature voted to extend California’s climate leadership with the passage of Senate Bill (SB) 32, which codifies Governor Jerry Brown’s executive order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. SB32 continues California trailblazing efforts to benefit our health, environment, and economy. Thank you to California’s legislators for pushing the state’s clean energy agenda forward.

Here are what leaders are saying about SB32’s passage:

Gary Gero elected to Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors

Gary Gero elected to Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors

Through new role, the former Reserve President will continue to help guide the development of the organization

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors elected Gary Gero to a new seat on the Board.  Gary retired as President of the organization at the end of December 2015 after serving in the role for nearly nine years.  During his tenure, he helped launch the Reserve from the California Climate Action Registry and led the organization’s development to become North America’s leading offset registry, a respected collaborator and an internationally respected pioneer in rigorous offset standards.

“We are very fortunate and appreciative to still have Gary so closely involved with the continued growth and development of the Climate Action Reserve.  It was under his leadership that the organization was launched and earned a reputation for being a pioneering force in transparent carbon accounting standards.  Now he will be involved with guiding the continued growth of the organization in its next chapter,” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors.  “Gary will bring a very unique perspective to the leadership of the Reserve, and we are thrilled to be able to continue working with such a passionate, committed environmental advocate.”

Gary’s career includes nearly 20 years of work in local government, primarily in the City of Los Angeles where he served as Air Quality Director and subsequently Assistant General Manager for the Environmental Affairs Department focusing on climate change, sustainable development, energy policy, and alternative fuel vehicles.  Gary serves on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters and serves on the Steering Committee of the California Sustainability Alliance.  He was a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee and served for six years on the City of Glendale Planning Commission.

“I am truly honored to be elected to the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors and to continue working with such a dedicated, talented staff and Board.  I know that there are numerous opportunities for the organization to use its expertise and knowledge to make a meaningful impact in addressing climate change, and I am looking forward to being involved during such an exciting time,” said Gary.

Please visit the Climate Action Reserve website to learn more about the organization and its Board of Directors.

Reserve Registry Software Update

Reserve Registry Software Update

Errata and Clarifications released for the U.S. Landfill Project Protocol Version 2.1

Errata and Clarifications released for the U.S. Landfill Project Protocol Version 2.1