Front Porch Blog

Bringing carbon buyers and sellers to market

[ California ] We know that sustainable forestry can help lower atmospheric carbon levels, a stated goal for those concerned with global climate change. Well-managed forests flush with rapidly growing trees remove (or “sequester”) carbon quite efficiently. But we don’t know yet whether markets can be established in this country to provide any economic incentive to do so. Trading carbon credits might work, the idea is straightforward. If a company wants to build a new power plant that would result in X amount of carbon emissions, for example, it could offset those emissions by buying credits from another company with the means of sequestering the same amount of carbon in trees or other sources. In fact, some carbon trading efforts are under way, but prices and limitations make it hardly worth the effort. Why the challenge? Complexity is the main culprit. Markets require established definitions, baselines and enforcement mechanisms — features missing from the relatively new practice of commercial carbon sequestration. These challenges, however, shouldn’t prove insurmountable. Markets, once established, ultimately bring efficient solutions.

News notes are courtesy of Southern Forests Network News Notes





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