Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Carbon Pricing and Avoided Deforestation

It is rare that there is positive news on the environment, but this economist article points out an actual case where the"financial innovation"may have actually helped save the rainforest. The carbon sequestration capability of the rainforest is pegged at 1Tonne per hectare, and the world wide acreage of the rainforest is quoted as being 1B Hectares. Therefore, the monetary value of the Carbon permits sold amounts to $10B worldwide. Now, the US timber industry alone has $30B in revenue, so, the question is: Is carbon pricing sufficient to ensure that forests are not destroyed? It appears that additional externalities due to forests (benefits such as habitats for animals and plants, and prevented losses, such as soil erosion) may need to be factored into calculations to ensure that the forests are not destroyed.

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