King County’s new carbon credit program protects local forests

Supports conservation of regional open space network

King County’s new Forest Carbon Program offers local companies the opportunity to offset a portion of their carbon emissions and support healthy forests within King County.

In the first five years, the Forest Carbon Program is expected to store at least 100,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide that otherwise would have been emitted into the atmosphere.

“Our first-of-its-kind carbon credit program has the potential to be a national model for public-private partnerships that improve the quality of life for people and wildlife in their own backyards,” said Executive Dow Constantine.

The program is a component of King County’s work to protect existing tree canopy and natural areas, and provide more public parks, biking and walking trails, and open spaces.

It creates the opportunity for buyers to purchase carbon credits generated by keeping carbon in forested lands. King County will then invest the revenue generated by the program to protect more forests and offer credits to additional buyers.

Microsoft has committed to purchasing all of the credits from the rural program in its first year to offset carbon emissions from its operations. Kirkland-based Fishermen’s Finest is the first local company to purchase urban carbon credits from King County from a recently protected forest near Sammamish.

All carbon credits King County offers will be independently (3rd-party) verified to voluntary standards.

This type of carbon credit program is one of the tools that can be used to conserve open space. Last year PSRC developed the region’s first ever Regional Open Space Plan, which maps the open space network in King, Pierce, Snohomish and Kitsap counties. The plan identifies priority actions needed to increase access and sustain open spaces for the long term.