Carbon Credits from RCW tree planting

A paper by Russ Ballard from the Climate Change Committee 


The Carbon Zero project will be estimating RCW’s C footprint.  Once estimated, the club will need either purchase Carbon Credits at ca. $25/tonne of Carbon or apply any credits it has earned from its tree planting activities in order to achieve and retain Carbon Zero certification.  There are a number of questions relating to both the quantum and availability to RCW of carbon credits from the clubs past and projected plantings of indigenous trees:


  1. Can carbon credits be earned from planting indigenous trees?
    Indigenous and other forests set aside or planted as ‘Permanent Forest Sinks’ post 1990 were eligible for registration to earn C credits under the “Permanent Forest Sink Initiative”(PFSI).  This scheme, which existed separate from the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), has now been put into abeyance pending the outcome of the review of the ETS. Current policy is to incorporate the PFSI into an amended ETS planned to be brought into effect by late 2019 through an amendment to the Climate Change Response Act 2002. It is anticipated the rules under the ETS will not be too dissimilar to those that were in effect under the PFSI. 

    Answer:  Yes
  2. Can RCW earn credits from plantings on other-people’s land?

    RCW’s past and future plantings are and will be on the land made available by other individuals or institutions and other parties will be involved in the funding and planting arrangements.  In order to earn credits the interested parties will need to agree to the planted areas being registered by the land owner (will involve some costs and future commitments to maintain the forest) and to the allocation of earned credits amongst the interested parties (which may have to be by separate contract with the landowner). 

    Answer: Qualified yes
    1. What is the timing and quantum of any credits RCW may earn?

      a) No credits could be obtained until registrations open under the amended ETS (Assume 2020)

      b) Assuming:
          (i) WCC and RCW agree to register the areas estimated by Richard Norman to have been planted in the Townbelt by RCW since 2011 (ca. 30,000 trees at 2000/ha = 15ha at an average age of ca. 4 years),
          (ii) that WCC and RCW agree to a 50:50 sharing of credits and
          (iii) the look up tables for estimating carbon sequestration in indigenous forests in the PFSI apply under the updated ETS scheme (4.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide/ha for 4-year-old indigenous forests) then credits potentially      available on registration in 2020: RCW credits = 15 x 4.6 x 0.5 = 34.5 (ca. $860 at current value)

      (c) Under the RCW 100k tree scheme as part of the centenary Richard estimates we will plant another 15,000 trees/year (ca.7.5ha) for each of the next 3 years. Carbon sequestration in indigenous forests is slow initially but then increases steadily with age. Five years out the ca. 37.5 ha would be accumulating credits at around 4/ha/year on a sustainable basis. This is ca. 75 credits per year for RCW (at current values $ 1875/year)

      (d) RCW is examining the possibility of a Forest Peace Trust to leverage funds from The ‘Matariki Tu Rukau’ and ‘One Billion Tree’ programmes to facilitate the planting of substantial areas in permanent indigenous forests. RCW, through its leadership of this initiative, may be able to negotiate some rights to carbon credits arising from these plantings. The areas could be large, but RCW’s share may be quite small in view of the number of parties involved.  It is difficult to forecast any quantum or likelihood of carbon credits available from this programme at this stage.

      Answer:         None before 2020/2021, possible initial allocation of 35 credits in 2020/2021, possible annual allocation of 75 credits/yr from 2025, Unknown credits for Forest Peace Trust
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