Volume 720, Issue 4, 1347-1384
Anthropogenic climate change is among the gravest problems humanity faces. Nonetheless, global greenhouse gas emissions are not slowing, and the complete elimination of greenhouse gas emissions is not currently foreseeable. American culture and industries rely on activities and technologies that overuse greenhouse-gas-emitting fuel. Despite ever-increasing awareness and concern, many Americans feel apathetic and discouraged regarding behavioral changes for the benefit of the environment, even those who acknowledge the existence and exigency of climate change. In order to make a real impact, and nullify any barriers to action, climate change-focused laws must encompass everyday behaviors. Enter the American Christmas tree market. Dangerously high levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases can be tackled by reducing emissions and increasing absorption and storage of carbon, which can offset continued pollution. Carbon offset projects absorb more carbon than they emit. These projects can be funded by greenhouse-gas-emitting entities that are offsetting their over-pollution. If Christmas tree farms implement practices that are eligible as carbon offset projects, players in the American Christmas tree industry will be subsidized for adjusting their practices in favor of sustainable methods that increase the carbon sequestration of their Christmas tree crops and farmland. Through the implementation of laws that target the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the optimization of greenhouse gas sinks on Christmas tree farms, the American Christmas tree industry can become a net-positive climate activity and meet the requirements set by carbon offset programs. This Note will focus primarily on the legal tools that can encourage and require changes in the production of natural Christmas trees in the United States and whether such changes meet common eligibility criteria for carbon offset credits.