I drink your MILKSHAKE
Posted by Andrew Stevenson on April 7, 2009
Reading this article I couldn’t help but think of Daniel Day-Lewis’ outstanding performance as the oil tycoon Daniel Plainview in There Will be Blood. There’s this liquid substance under your property, and we’re going to pay you just for the right to drill and take it out for you. You won’t even have to lift a finger! Or, in 2009:
“There’s an odorless, colorless gas that is sucked out of the air by your trees, and somebody’s going to pay you for that.”
I don’t want to be overly cynical (although it does seem to be a theme of this blog), but when most Washingtonians or New Yorkers read about people like Justin Maxson who are using market mechanisms to promote sustainable forestry (and that’s what we’re all about here on CT), the only green they can think of isn’t the kind growing on trees.
Continuing on Danny’s and Josh’s week o’ offsets, I think stories like this (and the issue of offsets in general) really illustrate the difficulty many “environmentalists” still have in using “economics” to achieve their goals. Is it morally wrong to support something that will do a lot of good but that people are only interested in because they can make money? Many climate activist-types I know are seriously angry with the huge amount of offsets in Waxman-Markey. Shouldn’t they be happy because more reductions will be achieved at a lower total cost? Or is that not really the goal here? Do we really want to cause the power companies some pain and make them take clean energy more seriously? But, you say, those costs will just get passed on to the consumer anyway…and on it goes.
Of course, I’m not about to resolve this debate right here, but I do know that it’s a really important one to keep having. Oh, and when you’re finished with all that arguing, there is A LOT OF GREEN to be made for whoever gets forestry right in the U.S. (if the EPA allows domestic forests as an offset category). To the tune of 150 million metric tons…just in Wisconsin.