Stacking Payments for Ecosystem Services
The utilization of ecosystem services payments to fund conservation and restoration efforts can serve as a financing strategy for climate change adaptation.
Payments for ecosystem services are becoming an increasingly important part of the U.S. business and regulatory landscape. Used properly, these payments can efficiently mitigate greenhouse gases, filter pollution from runoff, protect wildlife habitat, and prevent soil erosion. Recognizing this, the American Clean Energy Security Act establishes a cap-and-trade program that allows firms to “offset” their greenhouse gas emissions through practices that reduce or sequester greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere. Some state governments are also expanding water quality trading programs that allow facili- ties that discharge water pollutants to avoid ex- pensive facility upgrades by, for example, paying farmers to improve land management practices. There are also long-standing federal programs that pay farmers and forest landowners for providing a range of ecosystem services, such as protection of wildlife habitat and prevention of erosion.