Growing Carbon for the Future
Combine one gallon of gasoline with oxygen in an internal combustion engine. The result is approximately 21-pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2). Multiply that by the number of gallons of gasoline burned throughout the world. The outcome is astounding. CO2 emissions have become the greatest contributing factor to global warming worldwide. But thanks to some innovative landowners and a market for environmentally sound products, something is now being done to combat this problem.
Photosynthesis in growing trees and crops is one of the most efficient means by which CO2 is removed from the air. Industry has recognized this fact and, in an effort to clean up its act, has begun purchasing carbon credits from landowners in forms such as newly planted trees. Because CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, industries eager to offset their CO2 emissions are eagerly buying carbon credits so they can market their products as environmentally friendly or “Carbon Neutral.”
Currently a number of landowners in the Inland Northwest are in the process of growing 5,000 acres of trees in an effort intended to reduce the affects of CO2 emissions. The Carbon Offset Program has created an entirely new incentive for reforestation. Not only does the sale of carbon credits cover 100% of the planting cost, but most landowners also walk away with extra cash to fund future care and management. In all cases, landowners retain ownership, control and responsibility for their land. The only requirements is that at the end of a specified easement, a predetermined amount of CO2 has been sequestered. If you would like to learn more about the Carbon Offset Program, please contact the Upper Columbia RC&D in Spokane, WA at (509) 353-2187 or contact Northwest Management, Inc. in Moscow, ID at (208) 883-4488.
(Rob Richardson is a forester working on carbon calculations with the Upper Columbia RC&D in Spokane, WA).