Thursday, October 1, 2009

California timber firm to market its forests as weapon against global warming

Sierra Pacific's announcement comes less than a week after the Schwarzenegger administration pushed through new rules allowing the company to sell carbon credits.

Reporting from Sacramento - The state's largest timber company Wednesday announced a groundbreaking agreement to begin marketing its vast forests as a weapon in the fight against global warming.

Sierra Pacific Industries' announcement comes less than a week after the administration of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed through new rules that allow the firm to sell its trees' ability to absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the air.

Environmental groups immediately raised questions about the timing, so soon after the administration pressed the California Air Resources Board to approve the new protocols. "There obviously was a backroom deal going on that helped drive approval of those protocols," said Brian Nowicki of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Promoters of Sierra Pacific's new pact said such criticisms miss the mark and that the new effort is blazing a trail in the battle against global warming.

"This deal is really marking the way not just for California, but for the global carbon market," said Eron Bloomgarden of Equator, a private equity fund for natural resource projects that will work with Sierra Pacific to find buyers for its carbon credits. More >>>