Posts

Targeted ecosystem restoration can protect climate, biodiversity

by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News


Highlights

  • New research published in Nature shows that restoring wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands will help heal ecosystems and increase their ability to absorb greenhouse gases
  • Protecting 30% of the priority areas identified in the study could save wildlife at the brink of extinction and would sequester about 465 billion tons of carbon dioxide
  • Though restoration of lands is helpful, the biggest way to save the planet is to stop emitting carbon into the atmosphere
  • Reducing waste as well as meat and dairy production would help with ecosystem restoration while maintaining food production

Accelerating sequestration is critical to achieving drawdown greater than emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future. We know today how to manage natural and agricultural lands for sequestration through proven carbon farming practices. The Climate Center applauds Governor Newsom’s recent Executive Order on protecting state lands and water resources. The Center encourages the Governor to adopt the Executive Order as written by us to accelerate negative emissions and carbon drawdown.


Read More: https://insideclimatenews.org/news/13102020/targeted-ecosystem-restoration-nature-study-climate-biodiversity

New report on climate impacts in SoCal makes urgent case for agricultural climate adaptation tools bill

by Brian Shobe, CalCAN


Highlights

  • A new study by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and Climate Science Alliance emphasizes the need for climate adaptation tools and training for farmers due to climate impacts
  • Assembly Bill 1071, the Agricultural Climate Adaptation Tools Bill, would provide the tools and training needed in order for farmers to prosper as the climate crisis threatens their livelihoods 
  • Farmers are lacking critical information and climate data, hindering their ability to adapt their production methods to the changing climate, jeopardizing the state’s future crops
  • Land that typically can grow an abundance of fruits like strawberries and avocadoes may lose this ability and result in a nearly 50% reduction of fertile land for these crops
  • Unless we combat the climate crisis and begin to draw down carbon emissions, our food production will be severely impacted
  • Chris Field and David Lobell, authors of the 2019 Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment Research Brief on Climate Adaptation and Agriculture notes that our crops will not grow on the same land if we don’t save our climate:

“…prime agricultural areas of California – as well as similar regions across the United States that are currently favorable to specific perennial crops – may become unfavorable during the lifespan of a single orchard or vineyard.”


Accelerating sequestration is critical to achieving drawdown greater than emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future. We know today how to manage natural and agricultural lands for sequestration through proven carbon farming practices.


Read More: https://calclimateag.org/new-report-on-climate-impacts-in-socal-makes-urgent-case-for-agricultural-climate-adaptation-tools-bill/

Let’s harness the proven benefits of regenerative agriculture for a climate-safe future

Many California lawmakers understand the connection between energy use and the climate crisis. However, they are much less familiar with the vast potential for carbon sequestration in our soils. Healthy soils are a critical component of achieving the urgent goals of net-negative emissions by 2030 (drawdown of emissions already in the atmosphere greater than new greenhouse gas emissions) and increased resilience to climate-driven extremes like drought, heat, and floods.

Sequestration in soil represents up to 25% of the total global potential for absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. In California, rangelands cover about 56 million acres, half of the state’s overall land area, and according to recent research, could be a less vulnerable carbon storage option than fire-prone forests.

Regenerative ranching is a key component of this approach and provides multiple benefits to human communities, wildlife, ecosystems, and the climate.

Regenerative ranching can cost-effectively reduce fire-prone vegetation while also helping to build soil organic matter, reduce soil compaction, and improve land fertility. It can also improve healthy water cycle functioning and support beneficial populations of native plants, songbirds, pollinators, and other wildlife.

Progressive grazing practices can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and transform it into productive carbon in the soil. Improved management on grazing and croplands can offset 14% or more of current annual global CO2 emissions. Managed grazing and silvopasture (integrating trees, pasture, and forage) are recognized by Project Drawdown as among the top 20 most effective solutions to climate change.

According to a recent poll, ranchers using regenerative practices reported improved resilience to extremes, operational profits, and personal well-being.

While California lawmakers have already launched a suite of innovative climate-smart agriculture programs for farmers and ranchers, we urge them to build on these programs to sequester an additional 100+ million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide equivalents annually by 2030. But we must start soon.

Accelerating sequestration is critical to achieving drawdown greater than emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future. We know today how to manage natural and agricultural lands for sequestration through proven carbon farming practices.

With climate impacts rapidly worsening, the time is now to dramatically increase investments in regenerative agriculture and healthy soils!

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Many thanks to Wendy Millet of TomKat Ranch for providing some of the content and inspiration for this week’s e-mail content. 

Please endorse Climate-Safe California and support our work today for a vibrant, healthy future for all.

riparian buffer zones

This Houston nonprofit is paying coastal landowners to store CO2 in their marshes

By Michael J. Coren & Dan Kopf


Highlights

  • Houston based nonprofit the Texas Coastal Exchange (TCX) has awarded grants to local landowners with marshlands on their property in order to prevent development on lands that help sequester carbon dioxide
  • Jim Blackburn, the President of TCX, explains that by paying landowners for this service, they may in turn put in additional effort to protect the marshlands over time
  • James Broussard from LaBelle Ranch, a grant recipient, says the grant gave him funds to maintain the property as is since the marshlands don’t provide any income for the ranch
  • In order to pay landowners, the TCX  uses a carbon offset fund with donations from people and corporations and raised $35,000 in their first year
  • Each acre of coastal marshland can absorb about 2 tons of CO2 per year
  • TCX also plans to expand to include grants for owners of coastal prairies and bottomlands

Implementing bold and equitable policies that will catalyze carbon sequestration through building healthy soils and restoring healthy habitats will be key to achieving drawdown greater than emissions (net-negative emissions) by 2030 for a climate-safe California.


Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/energy-environment/2020/05/21/370252/this-houston-nonprofit-is-paying-coastal-landowners-to-help-fight-climate-change-by-storing-c02-in-their-marshes/

Earth Day 2030: California celebrates reaching net-negative emissions

Let’s imagine it is April 2030. In the early 2020s, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, we in California finally addressed the climate crisis at the speed and scale science demanded.

Nation & World Collaborating for Speed & Scale Climate Action

Today, Earth Day 2030, we celebrate the deep systemic changes we have collectively made for a healthy, equitable, and climate-safe future. We reflect back on an exceptional ten years of climate action.

The decade began with a nightmare, COVID-19, which woke us up to the deadly consequences of ignoring science. We quickly realized that we must heed the warning of climate experts and take immediate, bold action to avert climate catastrophe.

It took an exponentially growing body of diverse advocates (like you!) putting pressure on policymakers to create bold change in line with the science. COVID-19 showed us how quickly and dramatically we could change government policies, unleash market forces, and create opportunities for everyone to participate in a climate-safe economy.

Today we look back on our many achievements, including:

  • California accelerated the phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use. 

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s is showing enormous benefits for health, the environment and the economy as the state halted all new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and began rapidly phasing-out fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, and equipment.

We dramatically increased investments in public transportation, housing near jobs, and innovative programs that reduced toxic air pollution, especially for frontline communities.

The state also enacted zero-emissions building codes and began phasing out methane gas. We are grateful to the workers whose livelihoods were dependent on fossil fuel industries for making this rapid transition to a 100% GHG-free, clean energy economy possible.

Ranchers, farmers, and public resource managers were incentivized to implement climate-friendly habitat and soil protection and restoration programs on millions of acres from the Sierras to the sea.

Farmers led the way in reducing emissions while supporting food and water security with climate-friendly, regenerative production.

  • Unavoidable damage from extreme climate events meant that California became heavily invested in community resilience and protecting the most vulnerable, lower-income communities.

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s funded and supported California’s counties and cities to develop and implement clean, local, decentralized, resilient energy and storage, building independent capacity to address climate and other emergencies.

Major new state programs funded and supported local climate emergency response and preparedness measures, including early warning systems, resilience centers, and public education programs that are now benefitting all Californians.

  • California created new financing mechanisms, from frequent flyer fees and carbon taxes to private sector investments, that generated the billions of dollars needed annually for speed and scale climate solutions.

Millions of people took action to bring about the changes in policy that accelerated our transition.

On this Earth Day 2030, we commit to continuing our efforts to secure a healthy, vibrant, and equitable future for all.

We can achieve this vision if we act today based on the latest science. Support The Climate Center and help make Climate-Safe California a reality. Make every day Earth Day!

Most of 11m trees planted in Turkish project ‘may be dead’

by Sami Kent, The Guardian


Highlights:

  • 90% of the tree saplings planted during November 2019 in the northern Anatolian city of Çorum have died due to an insufficient amount of water 
  • The Turkish ministry revoked the claim by stating more than 95% are healthy and growing, though many critics doubt this claim
  • Mass tree-plantings have critics because of the sometimes poor survival rates
  • Larger critics wonder if the tree planting was an act of greenwashing and attempting to cover their other projects that produce environmental degradation

We at The Climate Center are focusing on California, the world’s 5th largest economy, to enact the emissions reduction and sequestration policies necessary for rapid decarbonization.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/30/most-of-11m-trees-planted-in-turkish-project-may-be-dead?CMP=twt_a-environment_b-gdneco

Tropical forests losing ability to absorb CO2, study says

by Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief, January 27, 2020


Highlights

Tropical forests are losing their ability to capture carbon dioxide from the air due to deforestation. 

  • The boreal forests found in cool temperature, high mountain ranges are sequestering more CO2 than tropical forests due to the rise of the CO2 Fertilization Effect
  • Roughly 30% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are absorbed by the land, creating a “carbon sink” 
  • Carbon was lost in tropical forest regions due to lack of rain

The Climate Center aims to sequester 100+ MMT of additional CO2e per year by 2030 through healthy soils and vegetation management.


Read more: https://www.carbonbrief.org/tropical-forests-losing-ability-to-absorb-co2-study-says

Op-Ed: Young people are standing up for the climate. We must heed their call for rapid decarbonization.

By Efren Carrillo, Board President, and Ellie Cohen, CEO, The Climate Center

Published in the North Bay Business Journal, October 7, 2019

  • Given the science and climate reality, we must do more.
  • California must immediately begin enacting a suite of policies that put us solidly on the path to reversing the climate crisis by 2030.
  • That means committing to much more aggressive action and accelerated timelines for achieving net-zero emissions, healthy carbon-sequestering ecosystems, and resilient communities.

Last month, millions of young people in the North Bay and all over the world participated in events that are part of a massive youth-led grassroots movement calling attention to the urgent need to decarbonize our economies now, not decades from now. The message young people delivered was aimed at climate deniers and governments that put profit over health in their refusal to recognize climate change as an emergency that threatens us all.

Will we as a society heed the clarion call of our young people?

Climate change poses grave and immediate threats, especially to children, the elderly, and people living in low-income communities. In response, the Pope and more than 70 of the nation’s leading health and medical organizations declared a climate crisis. We are running out of time to prevent irreversible consequences. Our only hope for a vibrant, healthy, and equitable future is to enact aggressive policies now.

The actions we must take are clear. As UN scientists reported, we must slash greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 while making significant progress toward removing upwards of one trillion tons of warming pollutants we have already put in the atmosphere. This will require rapid and far-reaching transformations in nearly every aspect of life: energy, industry, buildings, transport, land use and cities.

California is a leader in addressing climate change. Through landmark legislation in 2018, the state committed to reducing global warming emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and achieving 100% zero-carbon electricity by 2045. Local governments throughout the state are enacting policies to support these more aggressive goals.

However, given the science and climate reality, California must, and can, do more. As the world’s fifth largest economy, California should continue to serve as a model for the rest of the country and the world. Working with scores of community and business partners, The Climate Center plans to help our state step up to the challenge.

But how?

California state and local governments must immediately enact a suite of policies that put us solidly on the path to reversing the climate crisis by 2030. That means committing to much more aggressive action and accelerated timelines for achieving net-zero emissions, healthy carbon-sequestering ecosystems, and resilient communities.

These policies are within our reach and include upgrading electricity production and storage to be 100% clean and safe by 2030; decarbonizing transportation by enacting a phase-out of new fossil fuel powered vehicle sales no later than 2025; and, managing rural, agricultural and urban lands to sequester more carbon while also aiding communities in coping with climate extremes, from extreme heat to drought and flooding.

The policies must also incentivize all Californians to make climate-friendly choices. Examples include transitioning to 100% renewable energy and replacing natural gas appliances with electric, leasing or buying electric vehicles, using more mass transit, e-bikes and e-scooters, and eating food produced and distributed with practices that do not contribute to the climate crisis.

Enacting these policies will have a long-term net benefit to our economy but will require major investments akin to the World War II wholesale retooling of the economy. To pay for them, we will we need more dedicated market-based mechanisms for putting a progressive price on carbon. California already has a cap and trade system. We also need to implement tax and dividend, frequent flyer fees, green bonds and other mechanisms.

In addition, we urge Californians to elect policymakers at all levels of government who are committed to aggressive policies that rein in climate change and hold them accountable.

Climate activists are fortunate in California that 80% of residents view climate change as a threat to the state’s future economy and quality of life. Two out of three (65%) support acting independently of the federal government on this issue (PPIC).

With a federal government that is becoming increasing hostile to California’s climate policies, we must work even more diligently to deliver climate solutions at the speed and scale that the science requires. To achieve this ambitious and necessary agenda, business will be an essential partner. Throughout the history of our nation, business has driven innovation. Here in the North Bay, many businesses are leading the way to building a vibrant and sustainable economy, from installing solar on rooftops to purchasing electric fleet vehicles to building microgrids that enable businesses to disconnect from the wide area grid and run autonomously.

Will California invest in making the youth-led climate strikes a turning point in the climate emergency? We can’t afford not to.


Efren Carrillo is Board President and Ellie Cohen is CEO of The Climate Center, a California-based nonprofit working to enact the bold policies required by the science and climate reality to reverse the climate crisis. The Climate Center played a pivotal role in growing Community Choice Energy (CCA) which now supplies more than 10 million Californians, one quarter of the state, with 88% clean energy.