Tree farmers are understanding more and more that they are part of efforts to control carbon emissions, just as industry may be involved is carbon trading.
From small land owners to leaders of South Carolina’s forestry industry will be gathering in Columbia Friday for a workshop on the opportunities available in the carbon market, where carbon credits will be a commodity among those who grow and harvest trees.
Today’s event is sponsored by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation, the Nature Conservancy and the Climate Action Reserve, a California-based company. As though the carbon credits concept were not complicated enough for most of us to understand, Max DuBuisson(DU-bi-sen) with Climate Action Reserve explains that his organization actually develops “offsets” to carbon trading found in potential cap and trade targets like coal-fired power plants.
“For example, under cap and trade, dairies would not be required to do anything about their methane emissions,” he said. “But it’s a powerful greenhouse gas. So you can take money from the power plant sector to install equipment at a dairy, to reduce emissions there.”
And Dubuisson points out that it’s cheaper for livestock operations to reduce emissions than it is for power plants to do so. The workshop takes place at Harbison Environmental Education Center, 5600 Broad River Road in Columbia, beginning at 9 am.
A similar workshop was held in January by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation and National Wildlife Federation.
Rick Larkin works with American Forest Management in Charlotte. His company operates all over the South, as well as Maine, Michigan and Wisconsin. Larkin explains that trees absorb carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Larkin says that forests are a kind of carbon sink, but the carbon is eventually released from the trees after they’re cut. Currently there is no government regulations requiring foresters to keep up with carbon credits, but some companies have been speculating with those credits, buying them up, just as in the futures market, increasingly over the last decade. Concerns over global warming have increased and the federal government may be moving closer to requiring an organized carbon credit system.
But Larkin says it’s important for foresters, big and small, not to jump into any agreement they may regret. Just as in the futures market, the object is to buy low and sell high. Right now, says Larkin, credits are being sold low compared to what they might go for in a few years, if, but only if, the government passes certain legislation.
(Larkin on carbon trading MP3 4:55)
Larkin on carbon trading