US forests providing carbon credits are burning as wildfires rage across the west coast and throughout North America. Forests purchased by companies like Microsoft are feeling the brunt of the destruction.
Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon have all pledged to be net-zero emitters. As such, these companies rely on forests that create carbon credits to remain net-zero emitters. Wildfires are huge threats to major companies’ emissions. A single wildfire often burns and destroys over 100,000 acres of forest. 1 tonne of carbon removed from the atmosphere equals to 1 carbon credit meaning there are also financial costs associated with wildfires from a corporate standpoint.
Many of the tech companies which purchase carbon forests, are often located on the west coast where most wildfires happen. In Oregon, a fire near Klamath Falls has occurred in an area where Microsoft purchases carbon credits.
Companies using carbon credits from forests do use a buffer pool in case of wildfires. However, the buffer pool is not enough. 10-20% of the total credits produced from forests are used to fill the buffer pool. As well, the buffer pool is not able to keep up with the amount wildfires in North America currently.
This year is set to be the worst year on record for wildfires in the US. Last year, a new record was set. Solutions to wildfires will need to be found if forests remain the primary way companies create carbon credits.