In late November the Forest Carbon Coalition, Rachel Carson Council, John Muir Project and Partnership for Policy Integrity led a coalition of 45 scientific, conservation and community organizations across the US to provide detailed recommendations on a US forest carbon agenda to the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
The Select Committee is charged with delivering ambitious climate policy recommendations to Congress, in order to achieve substantial and permanent reductions in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis. The select committee was authorized by House Resolution 6 on January 9, 2019, and will publish a set of public policy recommendations for congressional climate action by March 31st, 2020.
Those recommendations will be informed by responses to a request for information (RFI) sent out by the committee last fall. FCC’s submission provided a detailed response to sections of the RFI addressing climate resiliency, carbon removal, and management of forests. Here are the key issues and policy measures included in FCC’s submission:
Key climate threats associated with mismanagement of US forests:
- Deforestation and carbon sequestration dead zones.
- Logging and wood products sector emissions.
- Overconsumption of wood and paper products.
- Wall Street, foreign, and large corporate ownership of productive forestlands.
- Vulnerability of plantations and intensively managed forestlands.
- Federal wildland fire policy is increasing fire risk.
- Carbon rich forests on public lands are being depleted.
- Federal and state subsidies are financing harmful forest practices.
- State forest practices laws are woefully outdated and need to be modernized.
Responsive policies include:
- Ending the commercial logging program on public lands.
- Establishing forest carbon reserves on public lands.
- Defining meaningful carbon storage targets for public lands.
- Decoupling BLM and Forest Service funding from timber sales.
- Enacting a new generation of corporate farming and forestry laws.
- Adopting a no-net-loss policy for US forests.
- Rescind and redirect harmful logging subsidies to incentivize climate smart alternatives.
- Including logging and wood products emissions in greenhouse gas inventories.
- Including a climate test in all NEPA analyses.
- End carbon neutrality designations for forest biomass energy.
- Eliminate renewable energy subsidies for forest biomass energy.
- Closing international biomass loopholes.
Over the next two months, FCC staff will be engaging with Select Committee members in Washington to call attention to these recommendations and help shape the committee’s evolving climate action agenda. Stay tuned for updates on this process here.