Today marks the final day of the Global Climate Summit, aiming to “bring leaders and people together from around the world to ‘Take Ambition to the Next Level….and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of states, regions, cities, companies, investors and citizens with respect to climate action.” The three-day meeting focused on collective actions to be taken to put the globe on track to prevent further climate change, while recognizing that some impacts are already being felt.
As part of the Declaration on Climate Resilience, the British Columbia Premier and Governors from Washington, Oregon, and California announced on behalf of the Pacific Coast Collaborative (PCC) a new effort to strengthen climate resilience by agreeing to undertake a coordinated knowledge exchange, strategic planning and, where appropriate, collaborative implementation effort under the PCC that identifies and builds on existing and ongoing efforts and activities across the region and key cities. This new effort was summarized in the Pacific Coast Climate Declaration on Climate Resilience.
“The West Coast represents the world’s fifth largest economy and we are creating a blueprint for other regions. We are building a thriving, innovative economy that combats climate change and embraces a zero-emission future. Our efforts aren’t just building a clean energy economy, they’re also creating great places to live,” said Washington Gov. Jay Inslee. “We are already seeing the impact of climate change in Washington state, and that’s why we must do whatever we can to protect our environment and our economy.”
The Pacific Coast Climate Declaration on Climate Resilience states that it will complement and build upon “the policy goals of individual partners as well as current jurisdiction-specific and intergovernmental collaborations including….Washington’s Integrated Climate Response and British Columbia’s Adaptation Strategy”.
“We have so much in common. I’m very optimistic about what we can acheive by tackling challenges together.” said Premier John Horgan.
Organizers of the summit also recognized that “There is no viable global solution to the climate crisis without addressing the land sector. How we use land—and the food, clothing, paper, fuel and other products that come out of it—can no longer be part of the problem. It must be part of the solution.” And in response to this recognition over 150 cities, corporations, NGO’s, and organizations signed a Climate Land Challenge. This challenge includes goals to sequester 1 gigaton of carbon each year in forests, soil, and other natural and working lands by:
- Keeping Carbon in the Ground: Agriculture and forestry businesses can shrink their carbon footprint through habitat conservation and by eliminating the loss and degradation and conversion of forests, grasslands, mangroves, soils and other habitats from their supply chains.
- Putting Carbon Back Into the Ground: We can increase the amount of carbon that is reabsorbed into the ground by reforesting lands and rehabilitating soils that have been cleared or degraded.
- Climate-Friendly Farming: By employing climate-smart production techniques, farmers and ranchers can yield food while building up more carbon in the ground.
This land challenge is relevant to the Cascadia region where important habitat management, restoration, and conservation is underway from our forests to our grasslands by private and public partners. We’ll stay tuned to see how we can share the stories of work from our landscape, explore resources to bring to actions in Cascadia that further the Climate Land Challenge, and exchange lessons learned with partners from elsewhere. Learn more about the Climate Land Challenge and other news from the Global Climate Summit by visiting their website.
Finally from the summit, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird announced plans to collaborate on forest resilience and carbon sequestration opportunities across the western seaboard. “Forest health, wildfire, and climate are intrinsically linked. As leaders on these issues, we see a role for our states to learn from each other and develop innovative solutions to our shared challenges,” said Commissioner Franz. “We can and will make our communities, lands and waters more resilient, strengthening our economies and environment in the face of climate change.”
The collaboration between Washington and California involves seven principles:
- Share and explore innovations in fuel management methods, including prescribed and managed fire, pre-fire management, post-fire restoration, post-treatment monitoring and evaluation, tools and equipment, best practices, and technology to mitigate and lessen the negative effects of increased wildfires and tree mortality.
- Share and explore innovations in climate-informed reforestation, including strategies for climate-adapted species, genotypes, planting techniques, and ongoing management needs.
- Share and explore approaches to evaluate and account for changes in forest carbon over time.
- Share and explore advances in forest-related science and data collection to better understand how forests are responding to changes in climatic conditions.
- Share and explore innovations in low-carbon emitting, or carbon sequestering, utilization of harvested wood products removed from the forest through timber management or fuels reduction activities.
- Share and explore incentive mechanisms to reduce conversion of forestland to non-forest uses and promote carbon-rich, climate resilient forests.
- Share and explore opportunities for investments in natural and working lands that increase carbon sequestration, enhance forest resilience, encourage multi-benefit forest uses, and support natural resource dependent communities.
There is a wide diversity of forest types throughout Cascadia and their resiliency is vital to the human and ecological communities that depend upon them.