The New York Times has prepared a great editorial on the value of protecting forests, and the need for forest-based carbon offsets. “Deforestation accounts for one-fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — about the same as China’s emissions, more than the emissions generated by all of the world’s cars and trucks. And the world is doing far too little to stop it. An estimated 30 million acres of rain forest disappear every year, destroying biodiversity and pouring billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” Supporting ACES, The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 which has been introduced for debate in Congress, the editorial cites carbon offseting as a means to satisfy emissions limits, saying,
the bill would allow for the kinds of offsets proposed and rejected in Kyoto, Japan. For example, a power company having trouble meeting its emissions limits could satisfy some of its obligations by paying to reduce deforestation elsewhere in the world. The economics make sense. It is a relatively inexpensive way for industrialized nations to get credit for reducing global emissions while they make the necessary investments to control their own pollution.
The Times editorial points out that The World Bank estimates that an acre of rain forest converted to crops is worth $100 to $250. It’s worth far more under a system that puts a value on carbon. The editorial calls for broad climate change legislation and a completed global climate treaty. Read more at the Times‘ website. Be sure to learn about Carbonfund.org’s forest-based offset projects by visiting www.carbonfund.org/projects. Photo credit: University of Minnesota design4ENV blog