Mar 29 2023

Klamath East poised for automatic termination

Grayson Badgley 
Grayson Badgley

The Klamath East (ACR273) forest carbon offset project is slated for automatic termination as a result of the catastrophic Bootleg Fire that burned through the project in 2021. New paperwork, filed on Monday, puts total wildfire-induced carbon losses at over 3 million tCO₂. The extent of the damage was so severe that the project's current standing live carbon stocks are lower than the project's baseline carbon stocks. As a result, California's rules require that the entire project be terminated.

Automatic termination means retiring 100 percent of the credits already issued to the project from the program's buffer pool — totalling at least 1.14 million offset credits. When combined with the estimated 3.95 million credits that have already or are soon to be retired from the buffer pool, total known wildfire losses through the end of the 2021 fire season stand at 5.09 million credits.

We previously estimated that the buffer pool was designed with the assumption that about 6 million credits would be sufficient to cover the wildfire risk of the current portfolio of projects for the next 100 years. The termination of ACR273 would mean about 84 percent of those credits are now gone. And, as we've discussed before, that number will continue to grow once we have an official reversal estimate for the 2020 Lionshead fire. Taken together, it seems increasingly likely that the entire wildfire portion of California's forest carbon buffer pool has already been depleted.

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