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The marginal cost of carbon abatement from planting street trees in New York City

Listed author(s):
  • Kovacs, Kent F.
  • Haight, Robert G.
  • Jung, Suhyun
  • Locke, Dexter H.
  • O'Neil-Dunne, Jarlath

Urban trees can store carbon through the growth process and reduce fossil fuel use by lowering cooling and heating energy consumption of buildings through the process of transpiration, shading, and the blocking of wind. However, the planting and maintenance of urban trees come at a cost. We estimate the discounted cost of net carbon reductions associated with planting and caring for street trees in New York City (NYC) over 50- and 100-year horizons. Depending on the species planted, the cost of reducing carbon, averaged across planting locations, ranges from $3133 to $8888 per tonne carbon (tC), which is higher than current cost estimates of forest-based carbon sequestration. The London plane tree is the most cost-effective species because of its long life span and large canopy, and the marginal cost of carbon reduction for the species ranges from $1553 to $7396/tC across planting locations. The boroughs of Staten Island and Queens have planting locations with the lowest average costs of carbon reduction ($2657/tC and $2755/tC, respectively), resulting from greater reductions in energy consumption in nearby buildings, which have fewer stories and more residential use than buildings in the other boroughs.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800913002693
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

Volume (Year): 95 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 1-10

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Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:95:y:2013:i:c:p:1-10
DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.08.012
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

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  1. Sander, Heather & Polasky, Stephen & Haight, Robert G., 2010. "The value of urban tree cover: A hedonic property price model in Ramsey and Dakota Counties, Minnesota, USA," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(8), pages 1646-1656, June.
  2. Andrew J. Plantinga & JunJie Wu, 2003. "Co-Benefits from Carbon Sequestration in Forests: Evaluating Reductions in Agricultural Externalities from an Afforestation Policy in Wisconsin," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(1), pages 74-85.
  3. Richard B. Howarth, 2009. "Discounting, Uncertainty, and Revealed Time Preference," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(1), pages 24-40.
  4. Feng, Hongli & Kling, Catherine L., 2005. "Consequences of Co-Benefits for the Efficient Design of Carbon Sequestration Programs, The," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12269, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  5. Lubowski, Ruben N. & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Stavins, Robert N., 2006. "Land-use change and carbon sinks: Econometric estimation of the carbon sequestration supply function," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 135-152, March.
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