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A nonprofit group in Kentucky has sold nearly $70,000 in carbon credits from forest land owned by seven landowners, the first sale of carbon credits for trees in the state. Some 5,000 acres of woods were included in the sale. The trees on this land were estimated to have stored 14,500 metric tons of carbon during 2007.
The Mountain Association for Community Economic Development (MACED) arranged the sale, according to a story by Andy Mead in the Lexington Herald-Leader. The credits were bought by the W. Alton Jones Foundation (a MACED funder) to offset greenhouse gasses created when the foundation’s staff travels. MACED is acting as an “aggregator,” pulling together forest land that can then be sold on the carbon credits market. MACED had planned to sell its accumulated carbon credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange, Mead explains, but there is little market for the credits until Congress completes (or not) its climate change bill. If Congress includes a “cap and trade” provision in the pending bill, that should jump-start the market for carbon credits — and give forest owners a chance to make a little money on the side.
Aggregators like MACED will be most important in the East, where large tracts of forest are owned by private parties. “I saw it as a really great opportunity,” said one landowner. “I felt like I was actually being paid for doing the right thing, and often that doesn’t happen.”