AUSTIN (KXAN) — Being located in Flash Flood Alley, we deal with flooding often. One way to mitigate flooding is to plant a whole bunch of vegetation and trees in a flood-prone area.
Doing this, however, can be a bit costly.
TreeFolks is a nonprofit organization in Austin that targets floodplains and plants native trees on them to capture carbon and mitigate flooding. When they reforest these areas, they put their work up on carbon markets.
What this means is that when a company that produces pollution wants to offset the carbon they are putting in the air, they will pay to help fund an organization like TreeFolks to plant vegetation that can capture carbon to help offset some of the carbon that their company is producing.
Carbon credits are essentially a way to cancel out your carbon emissions. One carbon credit is equal to a single metric ton of carbon dioxide that has been sequestered from the atmosphere.
TreeFolks ups the ante. They use “CarbonPlus” credits. These credits not only track sequestered carbon, but also factor in the additional positive ecological impacts of the planted trees. This includes stormwater interception, regional cooling, air and water quality, and energy savings.
These are quantified by another nonprofit that attaches a dollar sign to these impacts, City Forest Credits. They end up being way more valuable, sometimes by as much as 3 times. The City of Austin’s Office Of Sustainability has actually pledged to purchase all of the CarbonPlus credits that Treefolks programs provide to help with Austin’s carbon footprint.