NYTimes: Calculating the Carbon Value of a Swamp
By Mattew L. Wald
A nonprofit organization and a Gulf Coast electric company have come up with a way that might raise money to help protect New Orleans and surrounding areas from storms made worse by climate change – by collecting funds from people who feel bad about their carbon dioxide emissions.
The American Carbon Registry of Arlington, Va., runs a market for carbon credits. It has established methodologies for calculating how much carbon dioxide a certain positive action will sequester – planting an acre with trees, or burning methane from a landfill that would otherwise leak into the atmosphere, for example. It issues carbon credits with serial numbers, and if those are sold on a voluntary market to an organization that wants to reduce its carbon footprint, it records that fact and retires the serial number.
The idea, said Mary Grady, the organization’s director of business development, is to give buyers confidence that the credit really does represent a ton of carbon dioxide that is not emitted, and has not been counterfeited, or sold more than once. Without some verification, she said, “you don’t know how good it is.”
On Wednesday, the carbon registry group announced that it had published a proposed methodology for calculating the benefit of restoring wetlands on the Gulf Coast. The number of tons of credits that would be generated by an acre would vary according to the type of wetland – saltwater, fresh water, mangrove, cypress or something else.
The proposed standard is now available for public review, as if it were a proposed federal rule. The whole point, in fact, is to mimic what the group believes the government ought to be doing — establishing some kind of cap-and-trade system for emissions of global warming gases. READ MORE >>