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caption: A view of Mount Rainier from within Olympic National Park.
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A view of Mount Rainier from within Olympic National Park.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

For sale: Carbon credits. Contact King County

King County has gotten into the business of selling carbon credits.

Here’s how it works: Since 2015 the county has been buying up forested land at risk of development and getting carbon credits for protecting it.

Now, it’s started selling those carbon credits to companies that want to reduce their carbon footprints. That money goes back into the program to buy more threatened forestland.

"These trees that would otherwise be cut down are kept. They grow. And they’re able to suck up the carbon that a company — for example, Microsoft — is not able to avoid through other means," said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

"The good thing is that, in addition to storing the carbon, you get more lands for recreation, for wildlife."

So far two companies, Microsoft and Kirkland-based Fishermen’s Finest, have bought carbon credits from the county.

The county hopes to eventually protect 20,000 acres of forest land through the program.