Devika Balachandran, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

I spent my summer researching the evolution and performance of domestic voluntary carbon markets and examining the regulatory framework of California’s Cap-and-Trade program. I worked with members of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, which is currently in the process of creating wetlands to sell as carbon offsets because of their biosequestration properties. Upon researching literature from scientific journals, legal journals, legal reviews, and corporate reports, I wrote a 40-page paper detailing my findings to present to the Department of Justice. Essentially I found that voluntary markets do not currently have sufficient demand to keep the markets afloat (the collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange is a good example), but there are a number of initiatives cropping up all over the country that intend to create demand for carbon offsets due to imposing regulatory constraints.