Carbon Market Opportunities for Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands
Projected revenue potential of wetland carbon offsets in Louisiana due to wetland restoration and prevented wetland loss including a 20% buffer deduction.
Carbon finance can be an important revenue stream to expedite large-scale wetland restoration to slow and reverse the trend of rapid wetland loss, while providing multiple other environmental and economic benefits to the region. Entergy Corporation, through their Environmental Initiatives Fund, has supported the development of a study titled “Carbon Market Opportunities for Louisiana’s Coastal Wetlands” to demonstrate the commercial viability of wetland carbon credit projects and ensure the highest market values for wetland carbon offsets.
The primary goals of the study were to evaluate the commercial potential of blue carbon in Louisiana and to identify areas for future scientific investigation to support carbon offset programs. Tierra Resources identified and prioritized scalable wetland management carbon offset practices envisioned in the Mississippi River Delta and determined the expected carbon offset potential and finance outcomes of various wetland restoration techniques.
The study also demonstrates the carbon impacts of preventing wetland loss. The final results revealed that coastal wetland restoration in Louisiana has the potential to produce 1.8 million offsets per year-over 92 million offsets over 50 years. This is the equivalent of taking approximately 350 thousand cars off the road each year or 20 million cars of the road over 50 years. The two-year assessment of the potential to develop blue carbon projects on Louisiana’s coast estimates that carbon finance revenue can provide up to $1.6 billion in critical funding to assist with wetland restoration over the next 50 years.
This project intends to strategically push for the adoption of wetlands by the California’s Air Resources Board (ARB). The endorsement of ARB, the agency administering California’s emerging cap-and-trade program beginning in 2013, may connect wetland restoration with the highest demand for carbon credits and carbon market values in North America, thereby maximizing carbon funding opportunities for Gulf Coast wetland restoration.