EC County could enter carbon offset program

Nov. 10—EAU CLAIRE — Eau Claire County will continue to take steps toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Eau Claire County Parks and Forest Department has recommended the county participate in a carbon credit offset program.

The Eau Claire County Board of Supervisors will be reviewing a resolution requesting entering a contract with an offset program developer to earn additional revenue and work towards sustainability and carbon neutrality goals at the next meeting.

According to the fact sheet submitted by the Parks and Forest Director Josh Pedersen, a carbon credit is a digital tradable certificate confirming that one ton of carbon dioxide has been averted in a given year by an environmental project or business.

These credits are verified by an international agency and are typically purchased by businesses or individuals seeking to offset their carbon footprint.

The Parks and Forests department has been working with Anew, a North American carbon offset project developer, since May of 2021 to establish a voluntary market proposal.

Anew LLC has over 180 million tonnes of emission reductions, 90 forest carbon projects and 4 million acres of land enrolled in carbon projects.

The county currently has 37,845 acres of land eligible to participate in the program. Those lands are estimated to produce over 700,000 voluntary credits over the first ten years of participating in the program.

With the current market price, those credits would produce an estimated $9.46 million of net revenue within the first 10 years of the program, the resolution states.

Anew's proposal is to inventory, verify and manage the carbon credits before marketing and selling the credits. Anew would from the initial costs, and eventually retain 25% of the return sale of each credit.

The contract with Anew would be 10 years; however, the county would continue to monitor and take inventory of the lands as a requirement of the American Carbon Registry for a total of 40 years.

"For the entire length of the contract with Anew ll, including all aspects of carbon offset project development and administration. Marketing and selling of carbon credits, there would be no direct out-of-pocked budgetary expenses incurred by Eau Claire County," the resolution states.