Cost To Cut Down Trees

If you read media reports or talk to businesspeople, you are probably hearing a lot about the importance of "putting a price on carbon" - meaning that companies need to know what they are pricing their products in order to effectively price their carbon emissions to consumers. Yet the global energy trade is shrouded in mystery, with companies supposedly conducting regular internal assessments of their carbon footprints. And there's no easy way for companies to get to the bottom of what they're actually doing. In part, this means that companies may not be able to establish a price on carbon that reflects the true cost of cutting down trees.

Fast forward to 2002: Canada's government likely is going to impose a hefty tax on softwood lumber exports, and perhaps at a greater level than the fifteen percent minimum rate imposed back then, as a transitional measure toward a Canada-US deal in which Canadian manufacturers will adopt a U.S. stumpage method (the equivalent of leaving about two thirds of a tree on the ground to kill it and replace it with something else). But what exactly is the standard? How do companies decide what is high enough to trigger a carbon price and what is low enough? There are unanswered questions here that raise questions about whether or not the United Nations global warming agreement can be effectively enforced.

A few years back, I was approached by a local realtor who worked as an independent consultant with respect to mitigation strategies. My acquaintance introduced me to a realtor who called herself a tree lopper. She explained that she would come into properties with her dog, inspect the trees, remove bark, twig and branches, and potentially plant new trees in cleared areas. She would then bill the owner for her services. I asked her what she considered "high carbon pricing" and she responded by asking me if I could explain it that way. I struggled for several moments trying to find a technical term to describe what she was doing and finally resorted to telling her I'd read the article mentioned above and asked if she could explain it that way.

She explained she was doing what's called selective tree removal in an attempt to keep property values from declining and thus, her fees from increasing. She explained that she didn't actually cut down the trees, but rather she went to a town public works department, contacted the neighboring towns and told them her intention: to remove dead trees, trim some branches and remove trash cans. She said she didn't call the neighbor towns and they didn't object because it wasn't a tree-cutting activity. She said she wasn't interested in making anyone rich or finding a way to make money from thinning out dead trees. She said she didn't believe in charging property owners for this activity.

So my neighbor and I got into her car to visit her on her property the following day and she handed me a pamphlet she'd just recently purchased at the local Wal-Mart, which explained her recent actions. I read it and then asked her if she had permission from the Sydsunman to do what she'd done. She said she did. So I asked her why she didn't call the Sydsunman to get permission and that is when we got into her car. I explained I'd just read the Sydsunman's newsletter which described the same thing and she rolled back her eyes as if to say "you've gone to far."

I then explained she didn't need to get permission because she had authority over the trees on her property. I drove her to our county office and explained she could use our services and that our company could give her free-trade insurance while she did the work. We actually ended up giving her two free-trade insurance policies last month, one for a tree cutting and one for clearing the canyons around her house. As a reward, she's bringing two more trees to us this week. So that's how we help out with the canadian softwood industry in Sydshire.

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