TPL Calls for Passage of Senate Climate Bill

The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, today applauded U.S. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman for new legislation that will slow climate change and help reduce climate impacts on U.S. communities and natural resources. The new legislative proposal, released today, reflects months of work with conservation groups and other interests.

“The new Kerry-Lieberman proposal is a significant step forward,” said Jad Daley, Director of TPL’s Climate Conservation Program. “Senators Kerry and Lieberman have retained the best of other proposals, including vital funding for natural resource adaptation, while adding important tools to incentivize carbon sequestration from U.S. forestry and agriculture-an essential and cost-effective strategy to slow climate change.”

The latest Kerry-Lieberman legislation includes a robust opportunity for forest owners and agricultural producers to gain “offsets” for activities that generate precisely measured carbon sequestration on their lands. However, it also offers a critical new wrinkle-a “supplemental” incentives program under the U.S. Department of Agriculture for forestry and agriculture projects that can create real carbon reductions but lack the economy of scale or measurement techniques needed to earn offsets. The program includes provisions for conservation easements that protect land from development to maintain existing carbon stores and future sequestration capacity.

Like the Waxman-Markey bill passed this year by the House, the legislation also allocates emissions allowances to fund natural resource adaptation. This dedicated funding would allow for urgently needed action, including land acquisitions and habitat restoration, to maintain and enhance the ability of America’s public lands to support fish, wildlife, and other natural systems threatened by climate change.

“Every corner of America will see major climate change impacts on public water supplies and other critical resources,” said Daley. “The adaptation provisions in Kerry-Lieberman offer valuable new tools for communities to protect themselves.”

TPL, created in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. With funding from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, Forest Legacy program, Land and Water Conservation Fund, state and local open space funds, and other private and public investments, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres across the country. TPL depends upon the support of individuals, foundations, and corporations.