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.


In 2019 CSE will continue work to transform industrial forest practices in the US to climate smart alternatives through market-based solutions. Our work will emphasize the Pacific Northwest and Southeast regions and bolster the campaigns of climate coalitions and forest protection advocacy organizations we work with. Specific activities will include: (1) publishing high quality information about the impacts of industrial forestry on carbon emissions and climate resiliency; (2) designing and advocating for market based solutions such as redirecting subsidies, cap and invest or forest carbon tax and reward; (3) building strong partnerships with conservation and climate communities in each region to help advance these solutions and call public attention to the urgency of this issue, and (4) making the case for transformation of industrial forest practices to decision makers charged with developing climate solutions.


Last summer and fall, CSE and its partners completed a series of teach ins about the alarming climate impacts of industrial forest practices and how climate smart alternatives could be made the norm through various forest carbon pricing measures. We packed rooms with 100-200 people each night in Lincoln City, Eugene, Oregon City, Portland and Astoria and have built a vocal grassroots network of supporters who are now engaged in promoting public watershed protection, forest carbon tax and reward, and subsidy reform as solutions.

CSE and Sustainable Energy and Economy Network (our c4) successfully proposed and had introduced two forest-climate bills this legislative session. HB 2656 would protect drinking water supplies from industrial forest practices and force the timber industry to internalize the water-related costs they are now passing on to public water supply managers and customers. HB 2659 would rescind and then redirect tax breaks and subsidies for harmful forest practices and make receipt of these tax breaks contingent upon good practices and healthy forest cover being present. In particular, HB 2659 would make receipt of tax breaks and subsidies contingent upon the land being covered in either natural or semi-natural forests. Lands covered by clearcuts, logging roads, or timber plantations would no longer qualify. Dr. John Talberth presented expert testimony to lawmakers on both measures. For the latter, he identified a partial list of over $500 million in annual state subsidies that could be redirected to support climate smart alternatives.

CSE also began work on a report series focussed on environmentally harmful subsidies and how these subsidies can be redirected to mitigate climate change and enhance climate resiliency. Parts 1 and 2 of the series will address below cost federal timber and state level subsidies for logging in Oregon. We believe that reform of environmentally harmful subsidies provides a strategic, indirect forest carbon pricing alternative. Instead of subsidizing harmful, high emissions practices we think that tax breaks and subsidies can be redirected to reward carbon sequestration and less carbon intensive production processes through payments that are correlated with the social cost of carbon.


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 uses of these commodities.

Putting 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 climate smart forestry.

With respect to forestlands, CSE has pioneered the development of several policy interventions that decision makers can use 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 and climate resiliency plans for large owners.


The model legislation we developed is applicable to any region of the country or world where deforestation, forest degradation, and unsustainable forest practices are prevalent. In 2019, we will work with public officials and partners in Oregon and other US states to investigate the benefits of these approaches not only for climate but also for ancillary economic effects including jobs and ecosystem services.

Information Dissemination

CSE's primary mechanism for dissemination of our results and findings is through our website, through formal submissions in administrative and legislative processes (such as expert testimony), through social media, and through our public teach ins.

Amount Approved
$50,000.00 on 8/1/2018 (Check sent: 8/27/2018)

Talberth Presents
Dr. John Talberth presents on the climate impacts of industrial forestry.

Talberth Presents
Climate Impacts of Industrial Forest Practices NC Part 1-2019 (PDF)

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

Posted 3/15/2018 5:42 PM
Updated   9/10/2023 11:04 AM

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