Project Report:
US Forest Carbon Pricing Initiative
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


With funding from Walker Foundation, CSE is advocating for inclusion of the logging and wood products sector in federal, state, and local climate action plans and regulation of this sector’s climate impacts through market-based solutions. At the federal level we are participating in new regulatory processes initiated by Executive Order 140008, Executive Order 14072, and the US pledge to end deforestation and forest degradation by 2030. At the state level, we are focussing efforts on executive actions by governors in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and Washington. The Forest Carbon Coalition, co-directed by CSE, is mobilizing scientific, community, and conservation organizations to promote climate action agendas at both levels that includes accounting for logging and wood products sector emissions, a forest carbon tax and reward program, redirection of harmful subsidies, and ecosystem service markets as an alternative to timber to finance public schools and services.


In 2022, CSE made significant advances towards the goal of having federal, state, and local public agencies take account of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and other climate impacts associated with the logging and wood products sector and to address these impacts through market-based mechanisms. In particular:

Forest Carbon Tax and Reward

CSE completed work on a manuscript detailing how a forest carbon tax and reward system would work to internalize the enormous climate costs of clearcutting and timber plantations. These include significant GHG emissions, reductions in natural carbon sequestration capacity, and increased vulnerability to heat waves, drought, wildfires, and water shortages. We developed a detailed methodology for state-level agencies to account for logging and wood products emissions and regulate such emissions through a carbon tax levied on corporate polluters with revenue earmarked for investment in climate smart alternatives on non-industrial forestlands. Oregon, Washington, Maine and North Carolina were included in our study, but the FCTR program could be implemented by any state with a robust logging and wood products sector. The manuscript is now in review.

Forest Carbon Coalition

With generous support from Walker and the Mosaic Foundation, the Forest Carbon Coalition evolved from a loose network of volunteer organizations towards a true coalition capable of influencing the national debate over how to best manage forestlands to maximize their contribution to drawdown of dangerous greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. We set out to hire a coalition coordinator and project manager, acquire and get trained on new communications infrastructure, engage our Steering Committee and members on a regular basis, regrant funds to support the good work of member organizations and hold the Biden Administration accountable for meeting the terms of the global pledge to end deforestation and forest degradation by 2030. We are happy to report major progress on all these fronts.

Heather Campbell, based in Portland, Oregon, joined the FCC team last April and now serves as our Coalition Coordinator, housed at John Muir Project. Heather has helped grow the coalition from roughly fifty to one hundred members, acquired and received training in communications infrastructure including Zoom, Congress Plus, WordPress, HootSuite and Canva, hosts our regular Steering Committee calls, prepares and disseminates our newsletter, serves as the moderator for our periodic science and economics webinars, and leads our member engagement activities. Dr. John Talberth of Center for Sustainable Economy is FCC’s Project Manager and has been responsible for overseeing the regrants and contracts, grant finances, updating our science and economic resources, preparing our sign on letters, and presenting at webinars and local events.

FCC regrants and contracts have steered badly needed funds to grassroots leaders engaged in battles over the climate impacts of logging from coast to coast. RESTORE The North Woods, Wild Heritage, and Natural Resource Economics received regrants, respectively, to promote an end to commercial logging on state lands in Massachusetts, to publish the nation’s first comprehensive inventory of mature and old growth forests and update FCC science and economics webpage with the latest research and information. Contracts were awarded to Bricklin and Newman, LLC and Dan Galpern of the Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative to pursue strategic litigation requiring that climate change be considered in state agency decisions to approve logging and to file rule making petitions requiring that GHG emissions from clearcutting be addressed in state-level climate action plans.

FCC also sponsored two sign-on campaigns endorsed by dozens of science, conservation, and community organizations setting the high bar as to how the US Department of Agriculture and US Department of Interior should carry out President Biden’s Executive Order on Mature and Old Growth Forests (EO 14072) and pressuring the Biden Administration to make good on its pledge to end deforestation and forest degradation by 2030 by protecting all remaining primary forest, ending the commercial logging program on federal lands, redirecting subsidies for biomass and logging and reforming corporate land ownership laws to incentivize a transfer of our most productive farm and forestlands to owners who can make multigenerational commitments to climate resiliency.

Protecting Mature and Old Growth Forest

One of CSE's core tactics to promote honest forest carbon accounting and pricing is to analyze the climate impacts of logging proposals on public lands and make decision makers aware of the magnitude of these impacts and climate smart alternatives available to maintain adequate supplies of logs to local mills while restoring natural, climate resilient forests to the landscape. Washington's Department of Natural Resources and the US Forest Service nationally were focus areas for last year. CSE won groundbreaking litigation against DNR for failing to account for the climate impacts of logging, and we are now using this leverage to protect mature 'legacy' forests from logging. At the federal level, we are participating in the joint US Forest Service - Bureau of Land Management initiative on protecting mature and old growth forests by making the carbon case. Mature and old growth forests that remain are the most important terrestrial carbon stocks in the US. When these stands are logged they act as 'carbon bombs' that help to drive up GHG concentrations in the atmosphere.


Climate change has been referred to as the most spectacular market failure ever. The market’s failure to incorporate the costs of climate change into prices of wood and paper products supports a tremendous level of over-production, over-consumption, and wasteful land use.

A price on high-emissions logging operations is a critical market-based solution for internalizing the catastrophic costs associated with climate change and rebalancing markets to support efficient use of forests.

CSE has pioneered several market based interventions to help expedite the transformation of industrial forest practices to climate smart alternatives. These include forest carbon tax and reward, subsidy reform, cap and invest, no net loss and climate resiliency plans for large owners. We are working at the federal level and in Maine, North Carolina, Washington and Oregon to advance these through decision making processes now underway.


We are working at the federal level by participating in new regulatory processes initiated by the Biden-Harris Administration via Executive Order 140008, Executive Order 14072, and the new US pledge to end deforestation and forest degradation by 2030. The Forest Carbon Coalition serves as our primary partner within these processes. We are also working at the state level in parallel executive-order processes, primarily in the states of Maine, North Carolina, Washington and Oregon.

Information Dissemination

CSE is disseminating our work via publications in peer reviewed journals, through webinars, through email alerts to supporters and stakeholders, through in person presentations, and through the Walker Foundation website.

Project Link

Amount Approved
$50,000.00 on 6/29/2022 (Check sent: 7/19/2022)

Legacy forest on the chopping block in western Washington
Safe for now. CSE and its partners challenged this timber sale on climate grounds. DNR has now put the project on hold.

Legacy forest on the chopping block in western Washington

1016 Madison Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368

(360) 344-2080
(510) 384-5724
(360) 344-2080


Dr. John Talberth
President and Senior Economist, Center for Sustainable Economy

Posted 3/23/2022 12:09 PM
Updated   3/20/2023 10:58 AM

  • Nonprofit

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