Climate Change Impact

"North Olympic Land Trust represents Clallam County on the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State.  Our county has the distinction of having the most miles of coastal shoreline than any other county in the United States with over 200 miles of shoreline.  Prior to going to Rally, our organization had not discussed how climate change will impact the land conservation of the past, present and future.  After attending several workshops on climate change, my staff has come back prepared to make climate change a priority in 2010 and beyond.  As of a result, we will work to implement a policy or amend past policies to include impacts of climate change."

- Greg Good, Executive Director, North Olympic Land Trust

 
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Climate Change

Highlights

 

 

At Rally 2007, Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth declared that climate change presents one of the biggest problems conservationists have ever faced. Wentworth says that land trusts “are essential to solving the problem and we must act as a united conservation community.” Climate change itself, and the legislation addressing it, could dramatically change the landscape of conservation in America.

Recognizing the Importance of Carbon Sequestered on Private Land

A good deal of attention is being given to the role that fossil fuel use in the U.S. plays in climate change, but natural and agricultural landscapes play an important role in our climate too. The EPA estimates that U.S. lands, public and private, together provide nearly 900 million metric tons of annual carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. This represents 14.8% of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions.

But there is strong evidence that that this sink is being diminished, particularly through loss of forests and grasslands. The Land Trust Alliance is working with partners to call on policy makers to support a variety of policies to aid conservation of private forest, grasslands and agricultural lands to retain their role in mitigating carbon emissions and to prevent carbon emissions from their conversion to more intensive uses.

We also support increased funding for research on the role of agricultural and natural lands in carbon sequestration.

Funding for Natural Resources Adaptation

Global warming may literally change the face of our conserved lands by shifting habitats northward and uphill, by raising sea levels and a wide array of less predictable stresses. Recognizing that conserved lands may be critical to the survival of wildlife in a changing climate, Congress has included substantial funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and other conservation programs in climate legislation currently under consideration.

The National Wildlife Federation and other Alliance partners are working to ensure that robust funding for land conservation and management of conserved land is included in any climate bill. Visit the National Wildlife Federation's website for more information on natural resources adaptation funding.

Our Work on this Emerging Priority

Climate change is a new policy priority for the Land Trust Alliance, and unfortunately we have not yet been successful in raising funding to expand our efforts in this area. It's also more than a policy issue— we're working with partners to help land trusts adapt their priorities and management strategies for a changing planet. Rally 2009 also featured many climate-change related seminars and workshops. Visit RallyNet for materials from those sessions listed under "Emerging Issues."

For more information about our policy perspective on this issue please see our Presidential Transition Recommendations on:

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