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Recent climate action

Published: November 20, 2019 by Editorial Team

Last week’s Scorcher talked about the voluntary carbon market’s Trump “bump” which explained how states and companies are addressing climate change in light of the US federal government’s inaction and/or obstruction.  At The Climate Trust, we are well aware of how grim things look for planet.  Just a quick scan of the headlines (e.g., bird population declines by three billion since 1969) can send me into an existential tailspin.  But despair is not the answer, action is.  To that end, here’s some good(ish) news to counter those among you who suffer from climate change angst as I do.

In late October I attended the Land Trust Alliance’s Rally with my colleague, Julius.  Being surrounded by people who plan to do something about climate change is certainly heartening.  We were both approached regularly at the event by land trusts’ senior staff asking about carbon offsets’ opportunities and challenges. The challenges for a small land trust can be daunting, but the opportunities – as a reliable source of funding (by selling offsets), and the ability of working grasslands and forests to conserve critical habitat for plants and animals, and promote climate resiliency is too important to ignore.  Moreover, during his keynote speech, LTA’s President, Andrew Bowman, announced LTA’s commitment to supporting a carbon offset program among its membership.  Clearly, member land trusts were enthused by this announcement.  So are we.

And then we have the Federal Reserve.  Not typically a place where one finds the words climate change.  But in a speech last week Fed Governor Lael Brainard stated, “To fulfill our core responsibilities, it will be important for the Federal Reserve to study the implications of climate change for the economy and the financial system and to adapt our work accordingly… As was the case with mortgages before the financial crisis, correlated risks… could have an effect that reaches beyond individual banks and borrowers to the broader financial system and economy.”  For too many people climate change is a concept, not a negative reality – yet. Kudos to some on the Fed Board for recognizing that ignoring climate change could have catastrophic economic consequences.  Maybe that’ll turn some heads.

And lastly, the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) continues its work of creating a fair and robust program to reduce GHGs from the transportation sector in the northeast and mid-Atlantic.  TCI’s latest release in October states a preference for linking to successful cap and trade programs like RGGI and WCI.  The folks at TCI have set ambitious timelines reflecting the urgency of addressing what is now the biggest source of GHGs – cars and trucks.

I am feeling slightly better.  Action is the key, whether you do it as part of your work – which I am lucky enough to do – or call your local or national politician to voice your opinion. Whether you invest in climate change solutions or try to reduce your carbon footprint, taking action matters.