This is a crosspost from the Eureka Springs Independent by Dr. Luis Contreras. You can view the original here. Luis publishes a weekly column in the paper, and from time to time we will share them here. These represent the views of the author, not necessarily Dogwood Alliance.
China wants 500 truckloads of Arkansas trees per day, the Ouachita River, our public health, and our country roads.
Sun Bio (sunpapergroup.com) sent an air pollution request to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The deadline for comments was today, though only at the hearing. Forests are a massive carbon sink. Sun Bio must go.
What are carbon offsets? Carbon offsets are negative carbon dioxide emissions. Forest owners get a monthly check as long as they protect the trees, the natural way to sequester carbon dioxide. As the trees grow carbon is removed from the atmosphere. Cutting down a tree releases all its sequestered carbon.
Who pays for carbon offsets? Oil and gas companies, airline companies, cement, steel, and aluminum plants, data centers, truck fleets, high tower hotels, casinos, and any business creating carbon emissions or using fossil fuel generated electricity. Many states are overturning Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency crimes.
Are carbon offsets a scam? Like cryptocurrency and shale gas operators, there are some bad apples. However, the rules have changed as the price of carbon increases. Reports from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, www.c2es.org, “Carbon Market Oversight and Regulation,” and other sources have information on agencies providing reliable certification and trading carbon offsets.
Is it fair to stop Sun Bio? The Economic Development Corporation of Clark County has spent a great deal of time and effort on the Sun Bio project. Carbon offsets are a better deal, they will bring true economic benefits and hundreds of green jobs to Clark County. Carbon offsets are increasing in value, there is a limited number of trees and little time to grow more. 2030 is a hard deadline, and standing trees are doing their magic right now.
Does forest protection create jobs? Yes, the Arkansas Forestry Commission and other logging professionals can learn the latest skills on forest preservation. Public education and fire prevention are badly needed. Surveillance using drones and new laws making illegal logging and arson capital offenses are needed. Some arsonists are repeat offenders and social media can help alert authorities to prevent arson.
Where would funds for forest protection come from? The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has many investment incentives. Mississippi offers similar incentives. Forest protection is a better use of taxpayer funds than luring destructive companies.
What about Sun Bio? Three years ago, Chairman Li had a great deal and a Memorandum of Understanding for a fluff mill. The MoU is now obsolete, Li changed the plan and waited too long.
The climate emergency is real
The November 2018, 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment, says “the damages caused by global warming by 2100 could be worse than the Great Recession.” Last year, for example, hurricane Florence killed 54 people and caused $25 billion in damages. The impacts and costs of climate change are already being felt in the United States, and the severity of recent extreme weather events can now be attributed with higher confidence to human-caused warming.
Carbon emissions are up, and time is running out. The carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere continues to rise to new levels. We are over 415 ppm for the first time in human history, increasing at an alarming rate of 3 ppm per year. We have wasted six months on trumped up emergencies and other distractions. 2030 is around the corner and today is a good day to change.
The war on climate is on!
The Pacific region is on the frontline of the war on climate. The 2019 United Nations Climate Change Summit will be held in September. The U.K. declared an environment and climate emergency. Ireland passed a “cross-party consensus for action on climate.” Germany, Switzerland, and Australia may soon follow.
How can the U.S. be on the wrong side of the most vital fight?
We gotta get out of this mess
Like Pink said, “Just because it burns, it doesn’t mean you’re gonna die, you’ve gotta get up and try, you’ve gotta get up and try, try, try.” Business as usual is not good enough. We made poor choices and we all need to change. Let’s give it our very best and try, try, try.