Selling Carbon Credits (Way to go, Bethlehem)

As printed in today’s Express-Times, the City of Bethlehem is looking to bring in some revenue from its open space through the sale of carbon credits. This is significant as it presents a valuable way for a municipality to reap benefits from open space that go beyond the obvious. How would this work? The paper reports:

According to Mayor John Callahan and Bethlehem Authority director Steve Repasch, the city’s water resources and surrounding lands in the Poconos hold the potential for significant revenue streams in sellable carbon credits and timber stock.

Repasch said at current rates, the lands might be worth $100,000 a year in sellable carbon credits, or offsets that businesses and other entities can buy as credit toward their own carbon footprint.

This is an exciting development, one that other local municipalities might follow (if they can).

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on July 30, 2010, in Media Coverage, Trends, Urbanism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I have to disagree with you on this one, Beata.

    The Bethlehem Authority should have one top priority, and that is the health of the area as a watershed [which, I learned just today, is not always the same as the health of the forest]. Harvesting timber — even to FSC standards — probably is not good for the health of the watershed or of the forest.

    That being said, it’s great if whatever they do in the watershed produces some GHG reduction, but they should not sell credits to someone else. Selling the credits just encourages the buyer to NOT reduce their GHG; it’s a smoke and mirrors game.

    From what I know about this [which isn’t a lot], they’re doing the wrong thing for the wrong reasons. It seems odd to me that the board of the Bethlehem Authority supports this, and my suspicion is that they are being pressured by the Mayor or others in the City administration.

    I’m told that the City has been using reserves and one-time funding opportunities to live beyond its means — the City budget is up tens of millions of dollars from just a few years ago. So even with all the new taxes and fees from the casino and other development + the millions of dollars in casino ‘host fees’, they’re still swimming in red ink.


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