This page last reviewed November 9, 2018

California Tropical Forest Standard


Recognizing that addressing climate change requires a comprehensive look at the causes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Assembly Bill 32 (AB 32; Chapter 488, Statutes of 2006) directed the California Air Resources Board (CARB or Board) to consult with the federal government and other jurisdictions to identify the most effective strategies and methods to reduce GHGs, manage GHG control programs, and to facilitate the development of integrated and cost-effective regional, national, and international GHG reduction programs.  CARB began assessing emerging international mitigation actions as it developed the AB 32 Climate Change Scoping Plan in 2008 and the California Cap-and-Trade Program (adopted in 2011).  One of the most studied sectors within which mitigation actions have been proposed internationally has been tropical forests.

Emissions from the deforestation and degradation of tropical forests accounts for an estimated 11-14% of all global CO2 emissions.  Given the scale of GHG emissions from tropical deforestation, robust climate efforts must include mechanisms to reduce these emissions.

CARB will conduct a public meeting as specified in Public Notice, included below, to consider the endorsement of a California Tropical Forest Standard.  This item is not proposing any regulatory action.

Additional Information

The California Tropical Forest Standard would specify criteria to assess jurisdictional sector-based offset crediting programs that reduce emissions from tropical deforestation for immediate use by jurisdictions across the globe that are taking action to reduce GHG emissions from tropical deforestation as well as potential future inclusion within a Cap-and-Trade Program.  Much the same as other California international leadership initiatives (such as the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy), this jurisdictional approach to tropical forest programs is anticipated to serve as a robust, replicable model for other GHG emissions mitigation programs such as the International Civil Aviation Organization's Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation and other emerging programs.

Such a standard would also leverage nearly a decade of work of the California-founded Governors' Climate and Forests (GCF) Task Force and build on Under 2 MOU commitments.  The standard expands upon existing norms and requirements from the United Nations and other international bodies such as the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility and Carbon Fund, previous staff work evaluating expert recommendations and public input, voluntary carbon market tools and efforts, and GCF Task Force member programs.  In brief, the standard establishes minimum criteria jurisdictions should consider including in a sector-based crediting program to be assessed by California or other similar emissions trading systems seeking to use the standard.

This proposed standard would not result in any linkage with any jurisdiction, nor would it allow any tropical forest offsets into the Cap-and-Trade Program without a future regulatory amendment process and Board consideration to incorporate the standard into the Cap-and-Trade Regulation and conduct linkage findings pursuant to Senate Bill 1018.


November 9, 2018

September 2018

Written Comment Period and Submittal of Comments

PLEASE BE ADVISED that the public comment period for this item began September 14, 2018, and comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. on October 29, 2018.
Further inquiries regarding this matter should be directed to Jason Gray, Branch Chief, Climate Change Program Evaluation Branch, at (916) 324-3507 or (designated back-up contact) Greg Mayeur, Manager, Program Operation Section, at (916) 324-8031.

Climate Change