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Thursday, February 9, 2023

City looks to carbon credit program to protect urban forests

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The Indianapolis City-County Council Environmental Sustainability Committee passed a special resolution Nov. 21 to support the development of a carbon credit program to protect urban forests and trees in Indianapolis.

Forest carbon markets allow for businesses, municipalities and other organizations to purchase a carbon credit to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, according to the North East Foresters Association. A carbon credit can be created from a single tree or acre by verifying and monetizing the area as forest carbon. Carbon credits provide alternative ways for businesses to reduce their impacts on climate change.

The Environmental Sustainability Committee met on Nov. 21 to vote on a special resolution that would support the development of carbon credits in Indianapolis. (Screenshot from archived meeting)

The special resolution aims to protect and generate revenue for the maintenance of urban forests and trees throughout Indianapolis.

The city is exploring the research, development and feasibility of the program. The council recommended that the city provide an update to the council in November 2023 about potential outcomes, among other things. 

The city and its partners are already planting thousands of trees a year and upholding Indy’s status as a certified “Tree City USA” for 34 consecutive years, according to the special resolution. The city has a goal of planting 30,000 trees by 2025; the Department of Public Works and its partners have planted more than 23,000 trees since 2018.

Tree canopies provide a variety of benefits including improving air quality, reducing urban heat, increasing physical activity, reducing crime and improving mental health.

Once a tree or acre of urban forest is registered and sold, they are protected from removal for 26 to 100 years. If the city were to move forward with the project, all profit generated will be used for the purpose of maintaining, preserving and increasing Urban Tree Canopy.

The full council will vote on the proposal Dec. 5.

Contact staff writer Jayden Kennett 317-762-7847 or by email jaydenk@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @JournoJay.

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