CSTPR Noontime Seminar
Forests, finance and conservation: A turn in US climate policy by Lauren Gifford, Geography Department, University of Colorado Boulder
This talk will be available via live webcast. To view the live webcast please go to Adobe Connect and login as a guest.
California’s cap and trade program is one of the most established carbon markets in the world, and relies on a network of offsets to help participants balance their carbon budgets. One of these mechanisms involves investment in forest conservation as a means of offsetting industrial emissions. This talk explores the implications of climate policy-driven investment in forest conservation, with a focus on several projects in Maine that are tied to California’s carbon market.
This talk takes a critical approach, drawing on political ecology and science and technology studies (STS) to ask how, and by whom, climate and conservation policies enacted. It explores how a mechanism originally designed to address industrial GHG emissions on the west coast has become a major tool for conservation funding on the other side of the country. Data collection draws on a suite of qualitative methods, including more than 100 interviews collected over five years of fieldwork, from Maine, to the Peruvian Amazon, to the United Nations annual climate negotiations, as well as participant observation in carbon accounting training courses through the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute. This research reveals the role of the financial industry in designing and brokering forest carbon projects, and illuminates the linked worlds of forestry and finance as key to making forests legible within climate action plans. Finally, the research shows that what was designed as a tool to help polluters administratively address their carbon budgets has become a vital funding source for conservation and economic development in a region struggling amid a collapsed paper industry and depressed local economies.
Biography: Lauren Gifford is a PhD candidate in Geography. Her dissertation is titled “See the carbon through the trees: Market-based climate change mitigation, forest carbon offsets, and the uneven power of carbon accounting” She was the recipient of the 2017 Radford Byerly, Jr. Award in Science and Technology Policy and used the grant, in part, to support summer dissertation research in Grand Lake Stream, Maine.
Cryospheric and Polar Processes Seminar
Ice for Whales, Ice for Whaling: Observing the Current State of an Arctic FoodshedIce for Whales, Ice for Whaling: Observing the Current State of an Arctic Foodshed
National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, Rutgers University, Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)
This presentation will discuss two separate but related efforts to understand the implications of a changing ice cover in the Pacific Arctic. First, I will describe a long-term effort to observe the state of the shore fast sea ice near Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska during the community’s spring hunting season. Since 2006, we have monitored ice thickness and morphology using electromagnetic induction along ice trails that the local Iñupiat whaling crews use to access hunting sites at the shore fast ice edge. These observations, together with shared knowledge and accounts from hunters, provide a long-term record for how the hunting community observes changing ice conditions, assesses safety, and efficiently strategizes and adapts their hunt for the bowhead whale—a species uniquely adapted to Arctic waters. Second, I will discuss recent and ongoing studies to understand how changing sea ice conditions in the Beaufort Sea and in other key habitat locations are impacting the distribution, migration timing, and overall health of the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) bowhead population. Recent findings suggest that ice loss is currently contributing to healthier (fatter) whales, a greater and more varied range, and an overall more subtle relationship to sea ice than previously thought. Together, these two lines of research are observing the current state of a complex Arctic foodshed that is intricately linked to changes in sea ice, as well as culture, conservation, and international policy.