I wrote a blog post detailing my dissertation research, subtitled “What IS a forest carbon offset, anyway?
Here’s an excerpt:
”My research examines the use of forest carbon offsets as a means of conservation finance, and looks at the complexity of linking forest conservation to financialized carbon storage. I question the shift of a mechanism often criticized for its neocolonial implications of north/south capital flows, to one re-imagined by US landholders, reconfigured to administratively meet their needs, often without real change to forest management practices.
My dissertation is based on five years of qualitative data collection on forest carbon projects in the US and Latin America—with a focus on two projects, one in Maine and the other in the Peruvian Amazon. Additional data was gathered via annual attendance at the United Nations climate negotiations, meetings of emissions trading and ecosystem services professional communities, and via participant observation in carbon accounting training courses through the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. The latter was employed to critically study the techniques and discourses used by carbon accounting and verification professionals.
The results of this research are vast, and I will spend the next few months wading through empirical and theoretical questions to help frame these findings in ways that are useful to science and policy communities. I’ll begin by exploring the multiple subjectivities of forest carbon offsets, asking how they work to co-produce one another, and ultimately how they influence seemingly dispirit climate and conservation policies. In short, I’ll distill this data in order to return to (and answer) the simple question that drove me to chase this topic in the first place: “What is a forest carbon offset, anyway?””
You can read the full post on Prometheus: The Science Policy Blog: