Carbon Credits and Offsets Project

Participation by Nanwakolas member First Nations in the carbon credits and offsets market is contributing to environmental wellbeing and economic self-sufficiency.

 

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Nanwakolas Atmospheric Benefit Sharing Agreement

In 2016, Mamalilikulla, Tlowitsis, Da’naxda’xw Awaetlala, K’ómoks and Wei Wai Kum First Nations signed an Atmospheric Benefit Sharing Agreement with the Province of British Columbia, providing the Nations with eighty percent of annual revenues resulting from the reduction of carbon emissions in the territories. Those revenues are assisting the Nations in working towards our environmental and socioeconomic objectives as well as those set out in the 2011 Reconciliation Protocol. This is also one of the ways in which we protect the forests in our territories, help reduce the impacts of climate change, and increase the wellbeing of our communities.

You can read more about atmospheric benefit sharing agreements with BC here.

Climate change and forest practices

We know that climate change is real, and causing significant and potentially catastrophic damage worldwide. Also known as global warming, we have seen atmospheric and marine temperatures rising consistently for several decades now as a result. We have also seen the impacts occurring increasingly in recent years, including the 2021 heat dome that devastated our coast, increasing wildfires, reduced salmon runs, and major rainfall events.

Greenhouse gas emissions are a major cause of global warming. We burn a great deal of oil, gas, and coal worldwide to manufacture products, travel, and heat our homes. The carbon dioxide released by that activity rises into the atmosphere and is what is causing it to heat up.

Prior to the increase in industrial activity on the scale we have experienced in the last two centuries, the balance between carbon released into the atmosphere by, for example, wildfires, and carbon stored in our forests, was equal. The Great Bear Rainforest, for example, has been a massive contributor to carbon storage, helping reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions. The trees and soil here store even more carbon than the Amazon rainforests. However, contemporary forestry practices have seen more and more deforestation not only worldwide, but in our territories on Vancouver Island the north coast.

Improving forest management practices is critical to slowing down climate change. The Nanwakolas member First Nations deploy ecosystem-based management, or EBM, to reduce the annual harvest of trees in the Great Bear Rainforest and to manage that harvest more effectively to reduce carbon emissions and maintain carbon storage levels.

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What are carbon credits and offsets?

The amount of carbon released into the atmosphere is measured in metric tonnes. A carbon credit recognizes the reduction of a tonne of carbon emissions by a company or organization. The revenues paid annually to Nanwakolas member First Nations under the  Atmospheric Benefit Sharing Agreement recognizes that we have contributed significantly to emissions reductions through EBM practices, such as reduction of logging and replanting, and therefore should receive the carbon credits relating to those reductions.

Carbon credits have value, and can be sold to companies or organizations that are unable to reduce their emissions sufficiently, and that must or want to offset those remaining emissions. Airlines often do this, for example.

Benefits

 

Carbon credits represent important revenue for First Nations, supporting socioeconomic and environmental wellbeing. As First Nations increasingly resume our ancestral roles in forest management on the coast, we not only are contributing to the future prosperity of our communities but protecting the ecological and cultural values of our forests. These efforts will help to combat the impacts of climate change as well as ensure coming generations all benefit from well-managed natural resources in our territories.

You can read more about forestry-related initiatives and activities in these articles in our News section:

Operational Protocol for Large Cultural Cedar

Stewardship of Large Cultural Cedar

Forestry tenure partnership with Western Forest Products

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