Creating a Carbon Conservation Trust Movement

Steve Hollenhorst, with Howard Sharfstein
Dean, Huxley College, WWU


Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 4:30pm

Carbon Market graphic from Land Trust Alliance, 2020

Registration for the online webinar coming soon...

What if we applied the tools of private land conservation, including real estate acquisition, conservation easements, stewardships, and fundraising, to the important work of climate protection? That is, what if we extended our land protection model to both protect existing carbon reserves and capture and sequester additional carbon? The presentation will describe an institutional framework, organizational design, and financing system -- based on current law and the use of markets -- to acquire and secure legal rights to subterranean and biospheric carbon reserves. Acting on behalf of the public, including future generations, a Carbon Conservation Trust (CCT) system could help stabilize the climate by averting carbon emissions and expanding protected carbon reserves to mitigate atmospheric carbon levels.

Dean Hollenhorst will be joined by Howard Sharfstein, co-author on their recent whitepaper on Carbon Conservation Trusts.

Photo of Steve Hollenhorst

Steve Hollenhorst has been Dean of Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment since 2012. Prior to that he was the Associate Dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of Idaho, founding director of UI’s award-winning Building Sustainable Communities Initiative, founding director of the UI McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), and editor of the international academic journals Society and Natural Resources and the International Journal of Wilderness. Prior to that he was on the Forestry faculty at West Virginia University, where he served as Vice-Chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, founded the West Virginia Land Trust, and was a founding board member of the Monongahela River Trail Conservancy and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. He earned his B.S and M.S. degrees from the University of Oregon, and Ph.D. from the Ohio State University. His research is in the areas of land use policy and management; land trusts and conservation easements; and environmental leadership.

Howard Sharfstein is a retired environmental attorney and former corporate sustainability leader. For more than four decades, Howard has been an environmental professional serving in policy, technical and legal roles. As a practicing attorney, he helped clients comply with regulatory requirements and implement sustainability strategies while supporting business transactions. For nearly a quarter-century, Howard was an in-house lawyer at Kimberly-Clark Corporation (the makers of Kleenex, Kotex, and Huggies) where he managed environmental compliance and advised on numerous renewable energy deals. There he served as counsel to the company’s Sustainability Advisory Board and helped its Global Energy Services team develop effective strategies to reduce the company’s carbon emission well-beyond its science-based targets. Howard has been an adjunct professor here at Western since early 2019. He has taught both Environmental Law & Policy and Energy Policy & Politics. Howard is currently the Climate Planning Team Leader for Peak Sustainability Group, a division of Kulshan Services LLC, and co-leader of an internship program for WWU students to help launch the Kulshan Carbon Trust and accelerate a national carbon conservation trust movement.


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