What with the current mania for carbon offsets, I should have known it would happen eventually. In addition to the already burgeoning crowd of environmental outfits specializing in questionable science and creative economics, the ranks of carbon offset vendors has been joined by…the U.S. government. Thats right, fellow citizens, the U.S. Forest Service is now in the “voluntary” offset business. Just calculate your carbon footprint online and they’ll quote you the price for your personalized indulgence, er, offset. My roughly calculated tab comes to $44.40 a year.
Now that we know the price of our sinful energy consumption, all we have to do is write a check (or donate online!) to the Carbon Capital Fund, and they’ll immediately put that money into planting lots of more trees on Forest Service land to act as a carbon sink. Well, that and, um, other stuff:
This offset program, the Carbon Capital Fund, will link consumers’ offset investment to projects on National Forests to sequester additional carbon as well as improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat, and improve the ecological condition of our National Forests and Grasslands [emphasis added].
“Improve the ecological condition”? Doesn’t that cover pretty much anything the Forest Service does? That’s not really much of a promise when the point of this “investment” is specifically to fight global warming by planting more trees. One wonders if the people who are sending their money in are reading the fine print. After all, how would those same people react if their college-student son called them asking for money, promising to spend it on books “…as well as beer.” I imagine they would at least expect some sort of books-to-beer budget breakdown. The way this offset scheme is described, your heard-earned money could end up being spent on anything from bear repellent to re-tiling the bathroom in the ranger’s cabin.
But wait, it gets better. It turns out that this program has already come in for some criticism on the intertubes. The brave truth-tellers over at Dissident Voice have decided that instead of being a misleading greenie scam run, quite inappropriately, by an agency of the U.S. government, it’s actually part of a decade-spanning right-wing conspiracy to privatize all federal lands. Wait, what?
This is part of a long-term strategy to privatize the public’s forests, a process implemented during the Reagan Revolution through stepwise defunding of land management agencies in the name of “trimming budgets”. The process continues to this day and has forced the U.S. Forest Service to seek funds from the private sector simply to continue on. Nor is the larger plan confined to the national forests alone but includes the federal lands generally — BLM lands, national parks and wildlife refuges as well, collectively nearly a third of the nation. At about the time the NFF was being created, corresponding foundations were established in the form of the National Park Foundation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The coordinated effort to privatize federal lands has included the “Sagebrush Revolution” of the 1970s, the “Wise Use Movement” of the 80s and 90s, and the more recent “free-market environmentalism” that consists of a network of corporations and conservative foundations and think tanks intent on gaining control of what was intended to belong collectively to “We the People”.
So the fact that individuals are voluntarily sending money to pay for the Forest Service to plant tress (and other stuff) is proof of a plan to sell off all government-owned land. That’s some tortured logic worthy of Moonbat himself. All of this, however, is strictly academic, since we all know that even if we were facing a future of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change, carbon sinks wouldn’t do any good anyway. Take it from the journal Nature:
Whether tropical or northern forests store more carbon might ultimately be academic, though, when it comes to mitigating climate change. [Britton] Stephens [of the National Center for Atmospheric Research] believes that “relying on trees to mitigate climate change is not a good long-term strategy, because the carbon they store gets returned to the atmosphere on a timescale of around 30 years when they die and decompose.