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Urban Tree Carbon Offset Program

Green Minneapolis, in partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, has launched the first urban tree carbon offset program in Minnesota. Green Minneapolis has completed the application process to register a carbon credit project with City Forest Credits, a national nonprofit carbon registry. This pilot project includes 23,755 city trees planted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Read the press release MPRB to Collaborate on Pilot Urban Tree Carbon Offset Program.

This first project is anticipated to generate 50,806 Carbon+ Credits that will be available for sale during the 25 year duration of the project. In addition to the carbon sequestered by the trees, the project also quantifies rainfall interception, air quality improvements and energy savings achieved by the trees. To learn more, see project details.

Sales of carbon credits to be issued after verification through this project are under way. Proceeds from the sales of these carbon credits will fund additional tree planting and maintenance by the MPRB. Companies interested in purchasing these Carbon+ Credits will have committed publicly to reducing their carbon emissions.

What is a carbon offset program?

Carbon offset programs provide an opportunity for companies or individuals to offset their unavoidable carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits from projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon offset credits are generated by a variety of projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon sequestration. In an urban tree carbon offset program, not only are the trees sequestering carbon, but there are co-benefits that are quantified in resource unit and dollar value generated by the trees including stormwater interception, particulate air pollution capture and heating and cooling energy use reduction. In addition, trees contribute to our mental health, provide us with oxygen, help reduce the effects of climate change, benefit wildlife, help reduce crime, create local jobs and are a good investment of public dollars. An urban tree carbon offset programs provide a path for companies to take local climate action and purchase credits from projects that also contribute to the health and well-being of communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Green Minneapolis’ role in the carbon offset program?
Green Minneapolis is the project operator, the entity who undertakes a project, registers the carbon credits, and is ultimately responsible for monitoring, and reporting for the 25 year project duration. Green Minneapolis will also be responsible for the sale of Carbon+ Credits generated by each project.

2. How does Green Minneapolis receive carbon credits? 
Green Minneapolis registers tree planting projects with City Forest Credits, the national carbon registry for greenhouse gas emission reduction and removal for tree projects in cities and towns. A carbon registry is a non-profit organization that develops and administers protocols, which includes carbon quantification methods, validation, and third-party verification. After verification, City Forest Credits will issue and track credits for the project duration in a transparent registry system. Learn more at cityforestcredits.org/

3. How is City Forest Credits different from other carbon registries? 
City Forest Credits is a registry dedicated only to urban forestry who have developed a Standard and Protocols that define the set of rules and requirements that tree planting or preservation projects must follow in order to earn third-party verified carbon credits.

4. How much is one carbon credit worth?
One carbon credit is equivalent to an emission reduction of one metric ton of CO2 (tCO2e).

5. Why are urban tree carbon credits special?
In addition to sequestering carbon, urban trees provide other quantifiable benefits to the urban core including the reduction of stormwater runoff, air pollution, urban heat effects, and heating and cooling costs. More than that, trees contribute to our mental health, provide us with oxygen, help reduce the effects of climate change, benefit wildlife, help reduce crime, create local jobs and are a good investment of public dollars.

6. Who will Green Minneapolis sell Carbon+ Credits to?
We are seeking local companies interested in purchasing our Carbon+ Credits who are working on reducing overall carbon emissions. We are only selling our Carbon+ Credits to companies that have publicly committed to reducing their carbon emissions and will not sell Carbon+ Credits to companies that are solely using carbon credits to achieve carbon neutrality.

7. Where do the proceeds from the Carbon+ Credits go?
In any tree planting project that Green Minneapolis is the project operator, the proceeds will go directly back to the tree planting partner to fund additional tree plantings and maintenance.

8. Do carbon offset programs allow polluters to go on polluting?
A common concern about carbon offset programs relates to how companies use carbon credits. Often referred to as a form of greenwashing, it is feared that companies will use carbon offset credits to achieve all of their greenhouse gas reduction goals, rather than make the investments needed to significantly reduce their own carbon footprint. Green Minneapolis will not sell Carbon+ Credits to companies that are solely using carbon credits to achieve carbon neutrality. 

9. How do carbon credits change the way trees are valued?
Carbon+ Credits represent valid greenhouse gas reductions that will supplement a companies’ commitment to reducing their carbon emissions and are valued as such. Therefore, urban tree carbon credit programs initiate a market driven way to increase the inherent value of trees.