This study assesses the motivation, willingness, and technical as well as managerial capacities of U.S. cities to store carbon and sell carbon offsets. Based on a national survey of urban foresters, arborists, and other officials responsible for urban forest management within U.S. municipal governments, results indicate that local governments are interested in selling carbon offsets. An estimated Probit discrete choice model shows that the chance of a city participating in carbon trading is positively influenced by a number of factors including: (1) level of urbanization, (2) management's knowledge of carbon sequestration, (3) revenue generation from offset sales, (4) population education level, and (5) familiarity with carbon market institutions such as the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX). The cost of living, as reflected by median home prices, appears to be inversely related to the probability of participation. Currently, a number of cities have the technical and managerial capacity to establish quality carbon offset criteria such as enforceability, additionality, verifiability, and baseline establishment. However, many cities are still unaware of carbon sequestration opportunities, and there appears to be a fundamental disconnect to market participation. The results also suggest that municipal governments would gain from a better understanding of the costs and benefits associated with urban forest carbon storage.
Poudyal, Neelam C.; Siry, Jacek P.; Bowker, J. M. 2010. Urban forests' potential to supply marketable carbon emission offsets: a survey of municipal governments in the United States. Forest Policy and Economics 12:432 438.