Carbon credits a licence to pollute
To answer Icel Dobell’s question in her opinion piece: “what do Coca-Cola, Chevron, Catalyst and Lake Cowichan have in common?” The answer is straightforward; the corporations all want to purchase carbon credits and Lake Cowichan owns them. So, what’s a carbon credit? It’s a licence to pollute. If we leave those trees standing over there, we can pollute more over here, is how the thinking goes. Whether the company is local or offshore, doesn’t alter that fact. It’s still a licence to pollute. As how this all is great benefit to the environment as Ms. Dobell claims, escapes me.
As stated on the BC Community Forest Association webpage, their mission is to promote and support the practice and expansion of sustainable community forest management in British Columbia. Its benefits are to provide, and I paraphrase; long-term community economic development, local employment, and local-level decision making to consider the long-term benefits of sustained forest management. Pretty straightforward; create jobs, support the community and provide direct revenue into the city coffers. If the community wants to move in the direction of selling this all off guised as carbon credits, that’s fine. However, there needs to be a full and transparent discussion that they are no longer meeting the intended mission of the Community Forest nor will they be receiving the intended benefits of the Community Forest. What they really are doing is shutting down their local economic activity and accepting payment for someone else to have the licence to pollute more elsewhere.
Interestingly, Ms. Dobell and the UBC scientists also seemed to have missed the obvious point that the lumber in their homes stores carbon just as well as trees standing in the forest.