Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Carbon Sequestration for Farm, Forest Income

The New York Times has an article about selling carbon credit through the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX).:

An acre of pine forest captures and holds one to two metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, which it uses for photosynthesis. Untilled cropland holds a third of a ton of carbon per acre, and rangeland holds up to a fifth of a ton. The sequestered carbon dioxide is measured by soil tests before and after the planting.

Carbon dioxide credits now sell for about $4 a metric ton. Mandatory restrictions, experts say, could increase the price to $12 or higher. In Europe, the cost of a credit sold for sequestering carbon dioxide has reached $20, and even $30, a ton.
The market for carbon credits seems to hover between $3 and $4. A review of past CCX newsletters reveals sporadic volume, with common fluctuations of $0.50 to $0.75 per metric ton per month. The New York Times article suggests that biological sequestration will ultimately be replaced with geological sequestration. Expectations of sustaining $20 or $30 a ton seem unrealistic.

$3-$4 is far better than the $0.25 that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington received for forested land in the 1990s.

The Tri-Societies' science policy blog has a post about Farming Carbon:
Currently, farmers who wish to profit from the sequestration potential of their soils can sell carbon credits on the (CCX).
Science is needed to better quantify the carbon flux and carbon sinks.
At present, aggregators don't attempt to gauge the carbon impact of individual farms nor do they quantify counterbalancing emissions of traces gases. Hopefully, ASA/CSSA/SSSA members can play a constructive role in the CCX, providing the scientific basis on which aggregators will improve their climate accounting.
I would like to see more discussion on the nuts and bolts of accounting and verification.

Flickr Source: George sampling 3/2/07 ESA Common

1 comment:

Pam said...

I need to read up on this more - I'm not sure that I thoroughly understand it (the 'Farming Carbon' post looks interesting). It does seem like there is some straightforward basic science that could help answer some of these questions.