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Carbon credit

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  • Raju Titus
    Carbon credit programs fail without climate bill (AP) – 21 hours ago BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A national program that paid farmers millions of dollars for
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 6, 2010
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      Carbon credit programs fail without climate bill

      (AP) � 21 hours ago

      BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) � A national program that paid farmers millions of
      dollars for reducing greenhouse gasses has fizzled amid uncertainty about
      U.S. climate legislation, stopped paying dividends and will no longer taken
      enrollment after this year, the president of the group running it said.

      The North Dakota Farmers Union awarded farmers carbon dioxide credits for
      using techniques that reduced emissions of carbon and other gasses tied to
      global warming and distributed the proceeds when those credits were sold to
      businesses, cities and others. About 3,900 farmers and ranchers from 40
      states have earned about $7.4 million through the program since it started
      in 2006.

      But carbon credits that fetched up to $7 a metric ton a few years ago are
      now nearly worthless, said Robert Carlson, president of the North Dakota
      Farmers Union. The group has 6 million tons worth of credits that have gone
      unsold, and while it will continue to try to sell those, no new credits will
      be issued after this year, Carlson said.

      The program based in Jamestown is the largest of about a dozen similar
      carbon credit programs nationwide that cater solely to farmers and ranchers.
      Those other programs are facing the same difficulties, said Roger Johnson,
      president of the National Farmers Union in Washington and a former North
      Dakota agriculture commissioner.

      The credits would have had value if Congress had passed so-called
      cap-and-trade climate legislation. A bill that would have limited greenhouse
      gas emissions but let companies and others offset their pollution by buying
      carbon credits passed the Democrat-controlled House last year but has
      languished in the Senate. Republicans have derided the bill, which had
      strong support from Democratic President Barack Obama, as "cap-and-tax"
      because they said it would increase the cost of energy.

      "The high point of the prices coincided at the time of the presidential
      primaries and the economy was strong," Johnson said. "Pretty much everyone
      thought there would be some sort of cap-and-trade legislation because of
      support from Obama and McCain.

      "But then came the collapse in the economy and support for legislation died,
      and it all happened kind of at the same time."

      The North Dakota-based program had pooled farmers' carbon credits for sale
      on the Chicago Climate Exchange, a private agency that trades greenhouse
      gases and other pollutants just as other exchanges trade such commodities as
      crops and livestock.

      Farmers, ranchers and landowners earned credits by growing grasses and trees
      or using no-till farming practices, in which seeds are injected into the
      soil to reduce the amount of dirt turned over and carbon released. Livestock
      producers could participate by installing systems to capture methane from
      manure.

      Ten million tons of carbon dioxide have been sequestered under the program
      since it started � the equivalent of carbon emissions from about 2 million
      cars, Carlson said.

      Wayde Schafer, a North Dakota spokesman for the Sierra Club, said the carbon
      credit program had promise.

      "It was a good idea. It does reduce CO2 in the air, and it does benefit
      farmers," Schafer said. "But national cap-and-trade legislation probably
      won't see the light of day, though it still could work with regional
      cooperation among state and government entities."

      It would take a cap-and-trade bill for the credits to regain their value.

      "These (carbon credit programs) started because there was a presumption
      there would be a value on carbon and there would be legislation aimed at
      reducing greenhouse gasses," Johnson said. "Carbon really has no value now."

      Terry Ulrich, who raises cattle and crops near Ashley in south central North
      Dakota, said he pocketed about $6,000 during the first three years of the
      program for employing no-till farming techniques on about 2,000 acres of his
      land. But it's been about two years since he received a dividend from the
      program, he said.

      "I thought it was good for no-till farming, but the price has gone to pot,
      the market is almost zero and legislation doesn't look promising," Ulrich
      said.

      Without incentives, some farmers will go back to less environmentally
      friendly farming practices, he said.

      "The contract will be broken now, and we can all do what we want to do,"
      Ulrich said. "But I'll still no-till the land, absolutely. That, I'm sold
      on."


      --
      Raju Titus. Hoshangabad. 461001.India.
      +919179738049.
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