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General Carbon Offset Questions

Seedling Growing through Dirt

What is a carbon offset?

A carbon offset is a tradable 'right' or certificate linked to activities that lower the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Entities that release carbon into the atmosphere can purchase these offsets (also referred to as 'carbon credits') to decrease their carbon footprint. Once carbon offset represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere.

What is carbon storage?

Carbon storage is the process of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reduce its presence in the atmosphere. You may also see carbon storage referred to as carbon sequestration, carbon capture and storage, CO2 storage, or carbon offsets.

How does carbon storage work?

Land naturally captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through plant vegetation (photosynthesis) and geologic processes. As a result of incentives introduced in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, companies and entities that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere are encouraged to offset their carbon dioxide emissions by purchasing carbon credits. Since your land is naturally capturing carbon dioxide, you could be earning carbon credits that companies want to buy to offset their carbon emissions.

Where can CO2 be stored on my land?

Carbon can be stored in your soil, trees, or underground.

What are the benefits of carbon storage on my land?

  1. Make extra income off of your land when you sell carbon credits from the carbon that your land is sequestering

  2. Retain surface use of your land to combine with other income sources including farming, running cattle, recreation, and solar or wind leases

  3. Regenerative Agricultural practices can make your land even more productive while allowing you to benefit financially from the sale of carbon credits

  4. Positively impact the environment and contribute to green initiatives without making any significant changes to your land Learn more about the benefits of selling carbon credits from your land.

What type of land captures the most carbon dioxide?

For biological carbon capturing, the amount of vegetation growth (photosynthesis) that takes place on your property determines how much carbon dioxide is being removed from the atmosphere. For example, different tree types and soil types sequester different amounts of carbon, which affects how much landowners can get paid for their carbon credits. Land that is in areas with dense, mature tree stands and locations with soils containing high percentages of organic carbon captures relatively high amounts of carbon dioxide (for example, the temperate rainforests in the Pacific Northwest are the best place for carbon storage in the US). However, both forested areas and farmland can capture relatively high amounts of carbon dioxide. Areas that are located in dry, arid regions with little to no vegetation capture relatively low amounts of carbon dioxide.

Can I still use my land while it is capturing carbon?

Implications on land use during carbon leases vary. Typically, landowners can still use the surface of their land during carbon sequestration agreements. While surface use must adhere to specific terms in order to certify your carbon credits, you will still be able to run cattle, farm, and recreate while your land is storing carbon dioxide. Subsurface carbon storage takes place underground so it does not impede the use of the surface.

Can I still lease my land for additional income while it is storing carbon?

Below ground carbon storage does not impact surface uses. Carbon stored in trees or soil may limit the types of development possible on your land. Restrictions on harvesting timber, development, and additional activities on the land may exist depending on the agreement.

How can I sell carbon offsets from my land?

Landowners can list their carbon credits for sale for free on LandGate's online marketplace for exposure to high-intent carbon developers and investors. It starts by finding your land on LandGate's map to generate your free Property Report:


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