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  • Pay Me to Reduce Carbon Dioxide

    Other people are getting paid by the federal government so why shouldn’t we? That’s the sentiment coming from the forest industry over reducing carbon dioxide emissions. This is how a bad bill becomes a bad law. When there’s money up for grabs, special interests and their lobbyists swarm like bees to honey seeking to protect or improve their bottom line. Inevitably, few win at the expense of many. And when you can get paid not to do anything, all the better. Jessica Leber of E&E (password required) reports:

    About 15 of the 50 coalition members are spending this week arguing that 5 percent of cap-and-trade revenue be devoted to domestic forest and land conservation. That’s compared to about 1.2 percent proposed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and on par with the money slated to protect rain forests outside of U.S. borders.

    Advocates say they want the funding to stem decades of forest losses fueled by struggling landowners facing intense pressure to harvest their trees or sell to housing developers. [..] Landowners already stand to gain through a climate bill’s offset program, under which they could sell credits to balance fossil-fuel emissions under a carbon cap. A proposal by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), which could be folded into a final Senate bill, includes a beefed-up domestic offset program with a specific carve-out for farm and forest projects.”

    Laurie Wayburn, president of the conservation group Pacific Forest Trust said, “In the energy and alternative energy sectors, the public is investing a great deal in helping entrepreneurs develop technologies that reduce carbon emissions. Land does this naturally, but it doesn’t do this for free. Landowners can’t do this just out of their goodwill.” Wade Mosby, a senior VP for a timber company echoed Wayburn’s sentiments, saying, “I think we’re providing a lot of environmental benefits to the entire public, but we don’t get paid for it.”

    So who would get paid for and who wouldn’t? Do you only qualify if you have more than ten acres of forests? Are trees that capture more carbon than others worth more? Do synthetic trees count? With the trillions of dollars in carbon (energy tax) revenue available through a cap and trade system it’s no wonder the forestry industry is chomping at the bit.

    If there’s a market for conservation, it should be driven by the private sector, not a newly-created, artificial market for a clear, odorless gas that will be funded by all Americans. Pacific Forest Trust, for instance, makes payments to a tree farm “in return for an agreement to never subdivide its land and always maintain a sustainable forest.” Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited purchase land to create and protect habitats and establish wildlife preserves. Ironically, environmentalists are challenging Ted Turner’s attempt to save wildlife. The billionaire is seeking to restore bison wildlife through buying property in Montana before the remaining 88 bison from Yellowstone National Park are slaughtered.

    This rent-seeking strategy of invested companies and individuals is keeping the idea of reducing carbon dioxide emissions alive and well. Now it’s just a matter of convincing the queen bee they deserve more honey.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Pay Me to Reduce Carbon Dioxide

    1. Perry, OK says:

      There is a need to use the BIO-mass produced by forestry practices. Not only would it be smart use of our natural resources. It is a sustainable practice.

      What I do not agree with is the profiteering of large scale woodland companies to the detriment of the smaller woodland owner. A price per ton quota is as far as I would like to see it go. You produce something for us and deliver it. We can weight it and use it. It is a tangible, we can account for it. Hot air floats.

    2. Tim Az says:

      This will result in private land owners surrendering the right to manage there land as they see fit for a few dollars taken from themselves and the rest of American citizens. It will also result in over grown forests causing more fires that are not humanly possible to control. The owner will then have property that will be worthless and useless because they will have surrendered their right to use their land as they see fit to the govt.

    3. phil , Florida says:

      I'm looking to sell carbon credits from 320 acres of woodlans in northern Michigan. Please let me know the value per year if I don;t harvest the timber from this property should be worth a chunk of change…

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