From WILL PARRISH
Across the last 160 years, the timber industry has leveled the largest trees in California’s north coast counties in a burst of wealth that would be impossible to replicate for hundreds of years, even if industrial civilization persists for that long despite global climate change and a broad, interlocking global environmental crisis.
But the climate change era is also supplementing the region’s lumber economy by offering up the latest secondary forest product boom: carbon molecules. As I found in a review for the AVA, Mendocino and Humboldt Counties – which are home to some of the world’s fastest-growing forests, despite those forests’ thoroughly diminished state – have had a dominant role in the California’s Cap-and-Trade program.
Under the program, owners of forestland can generate “carbon credits” after they enlist licensed certifiers who use complex methodologies to tally the volume of carbon dioxide being stored in the trees on their property. The landowner then sells these “credits” or “offsets” to California’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, including power plants, refineries, cement factories, and shipping ports, who shop for them as part of a commodity futures trading program and need them to comply with regulatory limits. Landowners in every US state, as well as the Canadian province of Québec, are eligible to sell offsets as part of California’s program.