Date of Award

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Edwards

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Brennan

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard O. Mills

Abstract

"Eager to Offest" aims to look critically at whether businesses in general are engaging in carbon offset forestry as a genuine environmental service or as an investment opportunity benefiting little more than a group's environmental reputation. One industry which has engaged in carbon offset forestry as a part of the voluntary carbon market is the electric utility industry. PowerTree Carbon Company LLC was initiated in April 2004 for the purpose of reforesting 3,609 acres of bottomland hardwood forest in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Region in Arkansas and Louisiana. Twenty-five electric utilities have founded PowerTree as a limited liability company, jointly investing a total of $3 million to fund reforestation projects. Of the twenty-five utility companies that have invested in PowerTree, thirteen are included in the Forbes "World's 2000 Largest Public Companies" list and three are on Forbes "400 Best Big Companies" (Exelon, Dominion Resources, First Energy.

This paper seeks to evaluate the PowerTree carbon offset project as a case study. It is in the interest of the general public to understand the motivations behind PowerTree Carbon Company LLC and its efforts to plan over 3600 acres of hardwood bottomland forest in Arkansas and Louisiana.

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