Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Would you like to make money and SAVE the planet?

If I were a businessman I would invite you to join me in forming a business to sell carbon credits or carbon offsets as they are sometimes called. You don’t have to invest any money, just have a tree or two.

I read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle which mentions that “Evan Smith wrapped a forester's measuring tape around the trunk of Tree 10525, a towering Douglas fir, to figure out its diameter. Then he used a screwlike (sic) device to remove a thin wood sample from the trunk so he could measure its rings. The bigger the fir, the more it would be worth to Smith.”

Not as lumber, which you might expect, - but as carbon.

Carbon credits or offsets have become popular among environmentalists and pseudo environmentalists over the past several years. They are voluntary payments made to carbon credit sellers ostensibly to reduce the level of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Those selling these credits are to use the money received for the purpose of taking some action to reduce those nasty carbon dioxide emissions that are purported to cause global warming. Al Gore, who actually invented carbon credits (unlike the internet) as part of the hoax has a company that sells carbon credits; Al is a costumer for his company. He “buys” credits so he can continue to use his electric power-thirsty huge 25,000 sq. ft. house as he goes about the world encouraging the rest of us to cut greenhouse emissions. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is another one who buys carbon credits so he can continue to use his Hummers without “guilt.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi is another customer.

So why did Evan Smith measure his tall Douglas fir? Well tree 10525 is part of the Garcia River forest in Mendocino County, one of two privately owned California forests that have been recruited into the war against climate change as certified sources of carbon offsets. Evan did this because, according to the SF Chronicle, “California broke new ground this year by including forests as carbon reduction projects - with the result that forest owners can potentially earn some money not just by cutting timber but by leaving it standing.”

The business is pretty lucrative and labor costs are non-existing. So far Garcia River and Van Eck, the current certified suppliers, have contracted to sell more than 800,000 tons of offsets. A major customer, unlike the minor ones like Schwarzenegger, Gore and Pelosi, is PG&E who forecast that it would pay about $9.71 per ton for Garcia River carbon offsets each year. We might not get $8 million a year like Garcia River from PG&E but we would be able to pay for a martini or two and possibly some Johnny Walker Blue.

Both the price and demand for offsets from trees is likely to ”grow” (no pun intended) as either the Obama or McCain administrations take steps to “combat climate change”. For instance, California is currently developing a "cap and trade" system that would limit greenhouse gas emissions by large businesses, while letting them buy credits for CO2 reductions made by other entities. The Federal government under Obama or McCain would inevitably do the same since both candidates have swallowed the global warming cool-aid.

Such a system - which might also be adopted by the federal government someday - would take demand for forest offsets to a whole new level. Laurie Wayburn, executive director of the Pacific Forest Trust, a company that manages the Van Eck forest, one of two California's two certified offset forests, said "This could create a new economics for forest landowners based on conserving resources.”

I propose that those of us who have one or more trees come together and form a “certified” resource so we can offer to sell carbon credits to the people who circus master P.T. Barnum reputedly referred to as “one born every minute.” [FYI: this was actually uttered by David Hannum, spoken in reference to Barnum's part in a big hoax.] All we have to do is to agree to let our trees grow bigger.

Just as the certified forests owners, we merely have to have a goal of increasing the size of the trees to increase their carbon density over time. That means allowing trees to get bigger than usual before they are cut or thinned so the trees can grow faster and larger. Anyone having Redwood trees would be especially welcomed into our business venture because as a Yale forestry school graduate who works for the Conservation Fund said, “A lot of trees grow fast, but redwoods store a heck of a lot more carbon on a given acre than almost any other species.”

Just imagine the business potential. Car buyers could go back to SUV’s and someone taking a plane flight might purchase offsets from our trees to compensate for the greenhouse gases generated by burning jet fuel during the flight. The possibilities are endless because there are so many green people who want to save the planet.

No comments: