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Carbon Farming and Forestry Bill (Indiana SB 373)

This Feb the Senate Natural Resources Committee will discuss a proposed climate bill (Indiana SB 373). It's had exciting bipartisan support.

Our working group will have a 1 pager ready soon. We'll share it here.

Essentially, it would enable Indiana farmers and forest owners to be paid to sequester carbon. It's a 100% voluntary and 100% revenue neutral.

Where would the money come from? Read more below.

More and more households, companies, and other organizations are investing in projects that soak up the carbon they emit. They do this by purchasing verified carbon offsets. These are simply a way to finance sustainability projects that would not otherwise happen.

For example, the nonprofit Carbon Neutral Indiana has helped 130+ Hoosier households and businesses measure their carbon footprints and "clean up their carbon trash." So far, we've supported a forest project in Alaska. Once we have verified projects here, in Indiana, we can keep the money in the state. Indiana can generate "homegrown carbon offsets."

A recent UN report said $800B will flow into forest carbon projects by 2050... *annually*. The recent Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets -- led by Mark Carney the former Governor of the Bank of England -- says that voluntary carbon markets are one critical piece of the larger response to the climate crisis. In order to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, the Taskforce says voluntary carbon markets need to grow 15X by 2030. This bill helps position Indiana to accept some of this windfall.

You can read Indiana SB 373 here.

Carbon Neutral Indiana also created a short slide deck, with diagrams, that explains the bill.

Here's some background:

Former State Senator Mark Stoops proposed a "summer study committee" in which legislators would consider voluntary carbon markets, and the opportunities they represent for Indiana farmers and forest owners.

Our working group met 5-6 times leading up to Sept 2020. Then on Sept 16 we invited people from many groups to testify. Here's a summary as well as videos.

Mark Stoops, Jeff Dukes (Director of the Purdue Climate Change Resource Center), Rick Clark (regenerative farmer), and myself (founder of Carbon Neutral Indiana) discussed this on the "All IN" NPR show.

The big outcome of the study committee was that State Senator Sue Glick, Republican Chair of Senate Natural Resources Committee, decided to champion it going forward.

So we reconvened our working group and expanded it to include more stakeholders. The folks at our most recent meeting were:

  • Mark Stoops - Former State Senator (District 40)
  • Tim Maloney - Senior Policy Director, Hoosier Environmental Council
  • Rae Schnapp - Conservation Director, Indiana Forest Alliance
  • Ray McCormack - Regenerative farmer
  • Katie Nelson - Director of Legislative Affairs, Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA)
  • Jeff Stant - ED Indiana Forest Alliance
  • David Bausman - Legislative Director for DNR
  • Jim Dehner - ED, Indiana Land Protection Alliance (land trusts)
  • Jeff Dukes - Director, Purdue Climate Change Research Center
  • Liz Jackson - Indiana Forestry and Woodland Owners Association
  • John Ketzenberger - Gov Relations, TNC Indiana chapter
  • Michael Morrow - Indiana Farmer’s Union (also on climate action panel of National Farmer’s Union)

 

(This list is not official endorsement by these organizations. It's simply a list to acknowledge who has helped us think through these issues.)

One final note:

Carbon markets can be exceedingly complex. I didn't know anything about them a year and a half ago. So in my ignorance I dismissed them as greenwashing. But then I invested about 100 hours studying every white paper I could find. That research changed my mind and led me to believe that carbon markets are a powerful tool. For organizations, they provide least cost approaches to reduce emissions. They also provide accountability, transparency, and the innovation of thousands of players competing to offer high quality reductions at the lowest price.

If anyone reading this post wants to get more clear on these issues, please contact me personally:

317-721-4587

[email protected]

Founder, Carbon Neutral Indiana

 

P.S. This is not directly related to the legislation... but it's an exciting vision. When I was a boy, an old man told me squirrels used to be able to jump from tree to tree all the way from northern Indiana to southern Indiana. The Knobstone Trail is the longest trail in Indiana. What if we expanded it up to Martinsville, then Lafayette, then up the Wabash to Fort Wayne, then up to Michigan? If the trail was 100 feet wide, that would sequester about 50,000 tons of CO2 annually. That's about what Cummins executives emit simply by flying around the world. As more Indiana households and businesses clean up their carbon trash -- and buy carbon offsets -- we can funnel this money to projects like this. 50,000 tons is only about 1,000 households. We're already at 130. If you'd like to become carbon neutral, go here.

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