reply to post by 44soulslayer
Granting carbon credits to owners of pre-existing forests doesn't make that much sense. We need to give them an incentive not to cut the
forests down, but not overpay them.
Now, you see, this is a great example of policy without forethought, the main condition that has us in all of the messes we find ourselves in. As an
example, let us consider Joe Schmoe, a nice (fictional) fellow who lives on his 200 acres of lush forest. Joe likes the trees, and he doesn't want to
cut them down. So there's no need to pay him much, since he's already doing what we want him to do.
But Joe has a problem. Joe lives way out away from town, and has a pickup truck so he can haul materials to his forest since it costs so much for
anyone else to bring things out to him. So he uses a lot of gasoline between high mileage and poor fuel economy. Therefore he has a hefty gasoline
bill. He has managed to get by anyway all these years, but now since we implemented a carbon tax on that gasoline, Joe can't make ends meet any
Oh, he tries. But his job hours are being cut back and prices are rising due to inflation. Finally he has to take a drastic step: sell the
to be cut down and turned into nice clean paper (let's assume for leaflets advertising Al Gore's latest movie
). So this idea of not
paying Joe for what he has been doing all these years has backfired and forced
Joe to cut down all those trees.
Oh, you say, but now he can plant more trees and benefit. No, I doubt that. Since he just cut down trees, he is now legally considered a tree farmer
if he immediately plants another 'crop', and therefore isn't eligible for any tax credits. After all, he just cut down a stand of 200 year old
trees, so why should we reward that? And worse, since he still isn't getting any help from Uncle Sam, his only recourse is to become a tree farmer in
earnest, making sure that patch of forest will never exist again.
200 acres isn't all that much really. But multiply it by thousands upon thousands of people across the nation all in the same situation, and it
becomes a big deal. And it makes things much worse. This little example is a great indication of why these fancy programs never succeed and generally
promote the exact opposite of what they intended to do. This program was intended to encourage more tree growth to combat CO2 and maintain natural
areas; it instead will cause the destruction of millions of acres of forest that would otherwise exist and in the process hurt those who have been
helping do exactly what the program wants to do for decades.
Think things through
with an eye to reality instead of some fantasy ideal of 'fairness' before you decide what is a great idea and what
isn't. The purpose is to grow more trees, and intentions, effort, 'input', or anything else is irrelevant if we want it to do what it is intended
to do. Otherwise, we destroy that we wish to save, and ensure that which we want to rid ourselves of.