August 23, 2022

Where Credits Could Be Due—an Ingenious, Proposal for Carbon Credits

Posted on August 23, 2022 By Brian Rosenthal

An award winning paper from a national, student writing competition contains a thought-provoking proposal on creating a carbon credit bonus system for awarding and paying highway construction projects nationwide.  In comparing other credit systems worldwide, it lays out a clear path that is both sensible and workable.  The paper Taking the Road Less Traveled: Highway Construction and the Carbon Credit Bonus is attached with permission from the author, Tyler Mlakar.  The author notes that if highway construction were a country it would be the “third-largest emitter of CO2 behind China and the United States.”  Because such projects are largely those of local and state governments, the carbon credit bonus program could be locally governed and designed and could use developed or industry standard baselines.  The basis for the credit is an incentivized process comparing a baseline for projected CO2 emissions versus a verified declaration of actual emissions.  Based on savings from both lower emitting production methods and equipment and following verification, a state-by-state determined bonus would be due similar to an early completion incentive.  The author notes the program would encourage innovation.  In the author’s words, “[A] Carbon Credit Bonus would incentivize highway contractors to adopt more climate-friendly construction methods and materials, invest in greener technologies, and ultimately reduce the highway construction industry’s massive carbon footprint.”