Carbon Credits

Below – today.  This is SR 623 looking south.  Both sides are our up to the trees at the horizon, which is Genito Creek.  On the east side of the road we only own about 100 yards from the road, not enough for forestry, but I can keep the road from being developed now and forever.  Not that it is a big possibility way out here.

Al Gore buys them; so does Madonna.  Green celebrities and politicians assuage their guilt with carbon credits.  It works a lot like selling indulgences for sin in the medieval church.  The jet-setting celeb can buy a carbon credit to make up for his/her sin – profligate use of energy – and still be a member in good standing of the church of the environment … and not have to use less energy.  Ever wonder where those credits come from?  Some will come from me. 

Below – 2006

The guys who did my pre-commercial thinning have been working on this.   They say that I can sell the carbon my trees take out of the air on the Chicago Climate Exchange.  Young pine forests like mine take a lot of carbon out of the air and they figure that I can earn about $15/acre/year.   You have to enter into a 15 year contract to grow trees and not develop the place for fifteen years.   Since this fits with my plans anyway, it seems like a pretty sweet deal.  I even get a little more money for applying biosolids (which I already plan to do next year) since that makes the trees grow faster.  It is a win all around.  I get to grow my trees as I planned and get money.  People like Al Gore & Madonna get to feel virtuous and environmentally friendly when they buy the carbon sequestered by my loblolly pines.

There is an even more interesting permutation.    Scientists at Duke University have been studying loblolly pines in a higher CO2 environment as they expect with more greenhouse gases.  They grow significantly faster and stronger, so my trees are both removing excess CO2 and growing stronger while doing it.

I don’t feel too hypocritical.  I know.  It is a bit of a scam for fat-cat celebs, but it does some useful things.  It makes some eco-friendly activities more valuable.   In my particular case it will not change my behavior, but I can well imagine cases where a couple thousand dollars a year might help encourage someone to keep his land in trees and/or do better forestry.   The income from carbon credits will pay the property taxes, which are a burden on some of my neighbors.  Besides, we forest landowners have been giving the Al Gores of this world a free ride too long.  It is about time they pulled their own weight and we were appreciated.   The way I see it, we all like the green. 

Below 2006.  You can see the taller trees in the background in both pictures.  I have circled it here. I can no longer take a picture from this spot.  You cannot see the forest for the trees.

The minute the coins in the coffer ring, the soul out of green purgatory springs.  So when you see your favorite rock star, actor or celebrity, you can thank me for keeping them green (if not perfectly honest.)

Below – most of S. Virginia is pine covered.   This is I85.  It is like that for many miles.  Lots of carbon credits available.  Of course, older forests do not take as much carbon out of the air and an old growth forest is pretty much carbon neutral.

I love my trees and am proud of their growth.  If you look at the sets of pictures in the text, you can see how well they are doing.  The pictures with the smaller trees were taken in 2006.  Only two years later it looks a lot more like a new forest.   I also bought another forests today.   I will write more in the next posts.  I have always loved trees.  Thanks to energy guzzling celebrities, it pays better.