The Dynamics of Carbon Sequestration and Alternative Carbon Accounting, with an Application to the Upper Mississippi River Basin

Feng, Hongli

Ecological Economics Vol. 54 no. 1 (July 1 2005): 23-35.

Carbon sequestration is a temporal process in which carbon is continuously
being stored/released over a period of time. Di erent methods of carbon
accounting can be used to account for this temporal nature including annual average carbon, annualized carbon, and ton-year carbon. In this paper, starting by exposing the underlying connections among these methods, we examine how the comparisons of sequestration projects are a ected by these methods and the major factors a ecting them. We explore the empirical implications on carbon sequestration policies by applying these accounting methods to the Upper Mississippi River Basin, a large and important agriculture area in the US. We found that the di erences are signi cant in
terms of the location of land that might be chosen and the distribution of carbon sequestration over the area, although the total amount of carbon sequestered does not di er considerably across programs that use di erent accounting methods or di erent values of the major factors.