Nature can play a powerful role in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions and making communities more resilient to climate change.
The Nature Conservancy is proud to announce that it will partner with the U.S. Climate Alliance to bring this role forward and develop tools to enable states and local governments to put these solutions into practice.
“Research shows that natural climate solutions, including the carbon-sequestration capacity of nature itself, has the potential to play a big role in meeting the emissions-reduction targets necessary to confine average increases in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees centigrade,” said Lynn Scarlett, co-chief of external affairs for The Nature Conservancy.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is one of the founding members of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“Since the United States announced its intent to pull out of the Paris Agreement a year ago, the U.S. Climate Alliance has been a critical force to galvanize action by states and other subnational actors to address the very real threat climate change poses to our communities and our economy,” Scarlett said. “We’re thrilled to be working with them and with other partners to act on what we’ve learned from our research.”
With active climate and conservation programs in all 50 states, we are uniquely positioned to support the alliance to advance its goals.
“The people of Washington state are demanding bold action now on climate change,” said Mike Stevens, the Conservancy’s Washington state director. “Our communities are sustained by the abundant natural resources of our state — our diverse and productive forests, rivers and marine waters. We have the opportunity to build a prosperous and healthy future, and too much to lose to delay.”
In Washington state, the Conservancy is working with many of these tools already. The Conservancy is working to bring more nature into cities — trees, shrubs and raingardens — to address problems of air quality, increasing temperatures and to clean the water pouring off our streets and parking lots into streams, rivers and Puget Sound. We’re working with coastal communities to plan resilience for sea-level rise and storm surge. We’re exploring carbon sequestration in our forests and working lands and working to restore rivers to enhance water supply, wildlife habitat and protect from flooding and droughts.
“We’re excited to expand use of these nature-based solutions to address climate change impacts,” said Scarlett. “The planet itself, nature’s own solutions, can be one of our best allies in fighting climate change.”
We will collaborate with the Climate Alliance on two initiatives: the Natural and Working Lands Initiative and the Resilient Communities, Infrastructure and Natural Resources Initiative, addressing climate change comprehensively with a suite of nature-based solutions.
The Natural and Working Lands Initiative will identify best practices for land conservation, management and restoration to allow states to better understand and harness these natural climate solutions as a means for reducing emissions and increasing carbon sequestration to address climate change.
The Initiative will build in part from research we released last year showing that these kinds of land-management practices could generate up to 37 percent of the additional reductions needed to achieve the climate targets set in the Paris Climate Accord.
Other organizations in the Natural and Working Lands Initiative include American Forests, World Resources Institute, American Farmland Trust, the Coalition on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and Trust for Public Land.
The first effort of the new initiative will be to hold a Learning Lab in Washington, D.C., July 9 to 11, hosted by American Forests and staffed by more than 50 leading experts in the field of land-based carbon mitigation from government, academia, nonprofits, landowners and industry, including Conservancy science and policy experts. The Learning Lab will assist in identifying key opportunities for carbon sequestration and emissions reductions in several different types of landscapes, including forests, croplands, rangelands, grasslands, wetlands and urban greenspace.
The Resilient Communities, Infrastructure and Natural Resources Initiative will address the escalating impacts of climate change on communities and the natural resources upon which they depend. Drawing on its extensive work on flooding and sea-level rise, its continuing engagement with communities at the local level in all 50 states and its scientific expertise in resilience-related issues, we will share its technical tools and best-practices experience in using nature-based solutions to improve community and coastal resilience. Tools include state and local policies designed to incentivize and incorporate consideration of nature-based solutions in resilience planning, investments, and actions.