Althouse | category: trees



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

The mulga scheme.

I'm reading "In Australia’s Outback, a controversial cash crop is booming: Carbon" (WaPo).
Here in the “mulga belt,” which stretches into northern New South Wales, is the unassuming epicenter of Australia’s roaring carbon-farming industry. In this area alone, roughly 150 properties have collectively made at least $300 million from carbon credits in less than a decade, according to government records.... 

Whatever problem you might have with the carbon-credits market as a solution to climate change, there are other problems here.

First, governmental corruption: 

When Australia created its carbon market, the Emissions Reduction Fund, in 2014, it enabled companies to voluntarily buy ACCUs to shrink their carbon footprints. It also required the country’s 215 largest polluters — mainly coal, oil and gas companies — to offset pollution beyond certain limits. 
But the limits were set so high they had little to no effect, according to Andrew Macintosh, an expert who helped design Australia’s carbon market but has emerged as its leading critic. Instead, almost all of the credits have been purchased by the Australian government with the aim of aiding efforts to meet its international climate pledges. That meant the same agency was not only accrediting carbon projects but was also their primary customer — a conflict of interest, critics argue.... 

Second, the question whether the payments actually lead to the sequestering of more carbon: 

[M]any claim credit for regrowing trees that were already there or would have grown anyway, the critics say.... 

Third, the way to grow more mulga is to keep cattle from grazing, and, we're told, some of the farmers believe that "light grazing is actually good for the land."

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