Press Release (2014): Appalachian Mountain Club Announces Sale of Carbon Credits from Maine Ecological Reserve

July 22, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 2014

GREENVILLE, Maine—The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) today announced the sale of verified carbon emission credits from its Katahdin Iron Works conservation property in Maine to The Climate Trust, a nonprofit specializing in carbon financing. By encouraging natural forest growth on AMC’s 10,000-acre ecological reserve, the project preserves stored carbon in the forest and enables an additional revenue stream through the sale of carbon credits. AMC’s Katahdin Iron Works conservation and recreation property is located in Piscataquis County, and was established as part of the organization’s Maine Woods Initiative—a strategy for land conservation in the 100-Mile Wilderness region. The initial offset sale represents over 100,000 carbon reduction tons—the equivalent of removing 21,000 gasoline-powered passenger cars from the road.

Forests cover about one-third of the United States and are of great importance as habitat for wildlife, to clean air and water, to supply timber and other products, and for recreation. However, these vital lands face continued pressure from development and conversion for other uses. The Northern Forest is threatened by fragmentation and development. Since the 1990s, when timber companies—which had owned large tracts of forest—began to sell these lands, the threat of fragmentation and loss of functional ecosystems and habitat has grown.  Carbon markets provide an important incentive to preserve intact, healthy forests.

AMC’s carbon offsets have been verified under the Forest Project Protocol of the Climate Action Reserve. The protocol requires AMC to demonstrate that the emissions reductions provided by its offsets are permanent, verifiable, and “additional.”  Additionality requires that the offset credit provides a benefit above and beyond what would have happened without the project. AMC is committed to continued monitoring and verification of the project to ensure that its climate benefits persist for a period of 100 years following issuance of any carbon credits for greenhouse gas reductions achieved by the project. The protocol also includes standards that ensure the project is sustainably managed and ecological “co-benefits,” such as wildlife habitat and soil and water quality, are maintained. 

“We see carbon credits as having the double benefit of supporting our overall climate policy by reducing atmospheric carbon, and providing financial support to conservation projects like our Maine Woods Initiative,” said Walter Graff, Senior Vice President of AMC.  “We are pleased to be among the early users in the conservation community of forest carbon credits to support land conservation in New England.”

The Climate Trust was able to support this project because of funding received from a number of partners.

“The Climate Trust invested in Maine because the local environmental and social benefits such as recreation, forest education opportunities for children, wildlife habitat and water quality improvements perfectly fit our focus on land-based multi-benefit projects,” said  Sheldon Zakreski, Director of Programs for The Climate Trust. “The offsets purchased from AMC’s project have enabled us to effectively fulfill our obligations for an innovative effort in Massachusetts several years ago to address carbon emissions from fossil-fired plants. This is a prime example of how states can partner together to tackle climate change.”

Proceeds from the sale of these credits will be directed toward AMC’s conservation programs in Maine.

The Maine Woods Initiative is AMC’s strategy for land conservation in the 100-Mile Wilderness region, addressing regional ecological and economic needs through outdoor recreation, resource protection, sustainable forestry, and community partnerships. As part of this initiative, the Appalachian Mountain Club acquired and permanently protected 66,500 acres of forest land in the 100-Mile Wilderness region of Maine. Working with what was formerly industrial forest, AMC has set aside 21,000 acres as permanent ecological reserves where no timber harvesting will take place and the forest will be allowed to grow naturally. Other smaller, no-harvest areas have been designated to protect specific ecological, recreational or scenic values. The remaining area, about half of the property, is managed using sustainable forestry techniques. 

The Climate Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with over 16 years of carbon financing experience. Its mission is to provide expertise, financing, and inspiration to accelerate innovative climate solutions that endure. In order to arrest the rise in greenhouse gas emissions and to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change, The Climate Trust works to accelerate project implementation, develop financing solutions, and establish a supportive policy environment in the renewable energy, agriculture, and forestry sectors.

Founded in 1876, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) promotes the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the mountains, forests, waters, and trails of America’s Northeast. AMC helps people of all ages and abilities to explore and develop a deep appreciation of the natural world. With chapters from Maine to Washington, D.C., guidebooks and maps, and unique lodges and huts, AMC helps people get outdoors on their own, with family and friends, and through activities close to home and beyond. We invite the public to support our conservation advocacy and research, youth programming, and care of 1,800 miles of trails. More information is available online at www.outdoors.org/mwi.

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Rob Burbank

Director of Media and Public Affairs
rburbank@outdoors.org
(603) 466-8155