The sun beautifully illuminating the green treetops of tall beech trees in a forest clearing, panorama shot

Sequestering Carbon at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Actionable Science for Climate Change Mitigation

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Most climate change mitigation measures can only focus on reducing future emissions. This is particularly true for interventions and policies that target the most important emission source, the burning of fossil fuels. However, forest and agriculture carbon management also provide opportunities to reduce “excess” carbon dioxide in the atmosphere derived from historical sources. At the same time, the deliberate management of carbon stocks on land in low-carbon forestry and agriculture can be an important strategy for mitigating climate change while also enhancing livelihoods for billions of the poorest of the poor who live on less than $2.00 per day.

This socio-economic group at the bottom of the global income pyramid can be important participants in policies, actions and interventions that increase carbon stocks on the land through forest management, and agroforestry and other practices associated with trees outside of forests. This presentation addresses challenges and opportunities for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD+) as a development model. It addresses elements of REDD+ that have emerged following the Paris Agreements in 2015, including measurement and safeguards. It introduces the Carbon2Markets model which twins climate change mitigation and poverty alleviation. Although the world community has fixed its attention on closed forests and protected areas, the presentation also highlights the importance of engaging rural landscapes of trees outside of forests where people live and work. It draws on experience from Malawi, Kenya, Senegal, Thailand, Indonesia, and India.

About the Beyond Carbon Neutral Seminar Series

The 2016-17 Beyond Carbon Neutral seminar series brings six leading researchers to campus in order to introduce faculty and students to carbon removal and its associated research needs. The BCN Seminar series is co-hosted by the School of Natural Resources and Environment, the Erb Institute, and the Energy Institute, and supported by the U-M Office of Research.

About Dr. David L. Skole

Dr. David L. Skole is Professor of Forestry at Michigan State University. He has more than 25 years experience with research on the global carbon cycle and climate exchange. Dr. Skole leads the C2M program. He has advanced degrees in Environmental Science from Indiana University and Global Change Research from the University of New Hampshire. He was instrumental in constructing the first numerical carbon accounting model and has been spearheading the integration of satellite based remote sensing into carbon accounting models. He was officially recognized for his climate change research as a member of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Senator Al Gore. He is now active in the emerging carbon financial markets and applications of his research to carbon sequestration projects in developing countries. He has been active in developing methods for carbon offsets under cap and trade carbon regulations. He is a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, and serves as a member of its Offsets Committee, and as an advisor to the Forestry Committee. He also Chairs the CCX Technical Committee on Agro-forestry. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications on land use change and forestry issues related to carbon emissions and sequestration, including several that have been most influential in the field, ranking in the upper 1% in terms of overall influence on the science. He is the author of a very early book, Beyond Oil: the Threat to Food and Fuel in the Coming Decades that was publish in 1986 and predicted the current oil and food crises.

Dr. Skole is past chair of the National Science Foundation Advisory Committee on Environmental Research and Education. He is a member of several committees of the National Academies including Geographic Sciences Committee and the Committee on Geographical Foundations of Agenda 21 that lead to US State Department recommendations at the World Summit on Sustainable Development. He has advised both the federal government and international organizations on land use and cover change. He is currently Implementation Chairman of the United Nations Program on Global Observations of Land Cover, which is coordinating a monitoring program for land use change worldwide. He has worked closely with EPA, NASA and US Agency for International Development as an advisor and investigator.  Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and others.