Kerry’s New Climate Plan: Tax-and-pay-Brazil

Mr. Teresa Heinz is working on a plan to redistribute your cash to tropical countries in return for doing nothing.

Climatewire reports,

The Congressional Budget Office says the release of greenhouse gases could be reduced through a cap-and-trade program that allows emitters to preserve forests in tropical countries.

The report released Friday revisits a policy from the legislative debate on climate change in 2010 that suggests vast areas of foreign forest could be saved by U.S. polluters that “offset” some of their own emissions by preventing the release of carbon from trees…

The 33-page document was requested by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who has long sought to reduce the buildup of carbon in the atmosphere by targeting deforestation. Preserving forests is considered one of the cheapest ways to reduce emissions, and the report indicates that Kerry is seeking clarification about the challenges to achieve that.

“As the report clearly shows, deforestation accounts for significant greenhouse gas emissions, and we’ve got to get to work to combat that pollution,” Whitney Smith, Kerry’s spokeswoman, said in an email. “Forests play a key role in storing that pollution and the Senator will continue to work with both sides of the aisle to pursue policies that protect this important natural resource.”

Smith didn’t say whether Kerry was planning to introduce legislation, but if he does, the bill is unlikely to contain carbon-capping measures. Still, there are a host of other topics around deforestation that the report outlines for possible action.

Developing nations need money and technical know-how to ascertain the amount of forest they have and to monitor its depletion, the report says. They also need help to assure that if deforestation is reduced in one country, it doesn’t increase in another.

The CBO reports says,

The United States and other developed countries could also generate resources for reducing forest-based GHG emissions by creating demand in private markets for such reductions. They could do that by establishing cap- and-trade programs or by taxing GHG emissions and providing tax credits for those who fund forest preservation activities…

To date, regulations have motivated only about one- quarter of the transactions in the markets for forest carbon. To increase market funding for preservation, forest-based reductions in GHG emissions could be sold in markets fostered by cap-and-trade programs or by tax credits that might accompany taxes on GHG emissions…

Similarly, forest-based mitigation abroad might generate tax credits that could offset the impact of a carbon tax imposed on domestic GHG emissions, and the potential for generating funding for forest preservation would reflect the size of the tax.

Click here for the CBO report.