News4Climate: May 2024 Edition

Subscribe now to receive the complete edition, featuring climate job listings and upcoming significant events from our 28 coalition members, delivered straight to your inbox at the end of every month.

Welcome to our latest newsletter, where we delve into the transformative potential of Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) in the United States.

In this edition, we spotlight how a climate-smart Farm Bill provides a bipartisan opportunity to place our farmers, ranchers, and foresters at the heart of climate solutions. You will find inspiring stories of programs successfully implementing NCS with federal funding. From the journey of tribal producers advocating for equitable access to Farm Bill Programs, to the success stories of farmers embracing soil health practices to protect the environment and their bottom lines, these narratives underscore the important strides we are making in our fight against climate change.

We also highlight the latest updates in forest management, agriculture, and coastal wetlands conservation. These sections provide insights into the latest scientific research, policy developments, and innovative initiatives in these fields. Lastly, don’t miss our Corporate Sector Highlight, which focuses on the critical role of corporate climate disclosures in enhancing sustainability performance.

We invite you to explore these stories and join us in forging a sustainable and productive future for our nation. Let’s work together to meet our climate goals and create a healthier, more resilient world for generations to come. As we navigate these challenges, we believe that broad collaboration is key to achieving our shared objectives. We hope that the information and insights provided in this newsletter will serve as a valuable resource in your decision-making process.

A Climate-Smart Farm Bill Provides a Bipartisan Path Forward to Ensuring We Meet Our Climate Goals

In recent years, the United States government has significantly increased its support for the implementation of Natural Climate Solutions on American natural and working lands. This surge in funding has paved the way for a diverse array of programs aimed at expanding the adoption of these innovative strategies across the nation. Natural Climate Solutions encompass land management approaches designed to harness the power of forests, farms, grasslands, coastal ecosystems, and urban environments to either reduce greenhouse gas emissions or capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These solutions not only address climate change, but they also help restore wildlife habitat, improve water quality, increase the productivity of our farms, create jobs, and protect our communities from storms and floods. 

The Farm Bill in particular is a vital opportunity to put out our farmers, ranchers, and foresters at the center of the solution and forge a sustainable and productive future by: 
 

  • Providing financial and technical assistance for farmers to adopt climate smart practices that also improve soil health and water quality.
  • Helping communities plant and maintain urban trees.
  • Preserving America’s forests and grasslands for future generations.
  • Preventing catastrophic wildfires and restoring forests impacted by fire.


Additionally, a climate-smart Farm Bill provides a bipartisan path forward to ensuring we meet our climate goals. 

Below is a selection of programs successfully implementing Natural Climate Solutions with the assistance of federal support:

Making USDA Programs Work For Tribal Producers by Native American Agriculture Fund

Explore the inspiring journey of third-generation rancher Leon LaSalle and the Chippewa Cree Tribe as they advocate for equitable access to Farm Bill Programs. From confronting the challenges of drought to negotiating groundbreaking agreements with USDA, learn how their project enhances conservation practices, addresses policy changes, and catalyzes innovation for a sustainable agricultural future. Discover the impact on tribal producers, the significance of tribal sovereignty, and the opportunities presented by the upcoming Farm Bill.
Read full article.


Soil Health Success: Mulligan Farm shows that soil health practices can help improve economic performance by American Farmland Trust

Farmers across the U.S. are embracing soil health practices for increased resilience, efficiency, and environmental benefits while improving their bottom line. At Mulligan Farm, Forrest Watson’s success with cover cropping and reduced tillage highlights the potential of regenerative agriculture, made possible in part due to financial support from federal funding from programs like USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
Read full article.


Advancing Agroforestry in the Midwest: Hudson Demonstration Farm by Savanna Institute

Explore the importance of agroforestry, its resilience in the face of climate change, and the barriers to adoption in the Midwest. This article highlights the need for continued USDA support and a transformative 2023 Farm Bill to promote agroforestry as a natural climate solution and economic opportunity, fostering hope and revitalizing communities.
Read full article and watch the video.


Soil Health Success: Herriman Farms Soil Health Benefits Case Study by American Farmland Trust

Soil health management practices like no-till farming, cover crops, and nutrient management, can provide a wide range of environmental and climate benefits, while also improving farmers’ bottom line. American Farmland Trust’s Soil Health Economic Case Studies profile the real-world experience of farmers who have adopted soil health management practices with an in-depth partial budget analysis of their experienced costs, benefits, and return-on-investment of implementing these practices.
Read full article.


Treesilience: Urban Forestry for Communities and Climate by The Nature Conservancy

Urban trees are more than aesthetics; they’re vital for cleaner air, climate action, and equitable communities. Treesilience, a dynamic initiative led by a coalition of organizations, is redefining urban landscapes in Chicago and St. Louis. They’re planting and protecting trees while empowering communities for a greener, healthier, and more equitable future. Discover how federal funding is pivotal in making these programs a reality.
Read full article.

Don’t miss the Environmental and Energy Study Institute‘s Farm Bill Tracker page, for a round-up of briefings, policy resources, articles, and podcasts on sustainable agriculture and climate, environmental, and energy opportunities in the upcoming Farm Bill.

1. FORESTS ARE ONE OF OUR STRONGEST ALLIES AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE: American Forests Annual Report 2023

In 2023, American Forests made significant strides in urban forestry, climate-resilient reforestation, and equitable forest management, driven by billions in new federal fundingand diverse partnerships.As written in their 2023 Annual Report, American Forests experienced an incredible “Forest Forward” leap in 2023: 

  • “Forward to an urban forestry movement that is laser-focused on saving lives and protecting our climate by delivering Tree Equity to communities in America and around the world.
  • Forward to rapid climate-resilient reforestation of public and tribal lands that can withstand the climate-fueled threats consuming our forests.
  • Forward to a more equitable and inclusive way of growing and caring for our forests that increases resources for everyone, while offering diverse opportunities from volunteerism to new green careers.
  • Forward to freely available data and science-driven tools that help everyone prioritize where and how to reforest, and how to quantify our impacts.”

“All of this momentum was powered by billions of dollars in new federal funding, matched by increased state and local agency support, and through the generosity of corporate and foundation partners and individual philanthropic contributions.” See the full impact here.


2. VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKETS: White House Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Principles for High-Integrity Voluntary Carbon Markets

3. SCIENCE DEEP DIVE: IMPACTS OF THINNING & PRESCRIBED FIRE: Forest & Ecology Management Study (The Nature Conservancy is a co-author): Tamm Review: A Meta-Analysis of Thinning, Prescribed Fire, and Wildfire Effects on Subsequent Wildfire Severity in Conifer Dominated Forests of the Western US

4. WILDFIRE MANAGEMENT: Hispanic Access Foundation Press Release: Hispanic Access Community Navigator Cohort Participants Awarded Community Wildfire Defense Grants

Photo from American Farmland Trust article

1. CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS ON AGRICULTURE: American Farmland Trust Article: There Is No More Normal: New England’s Farmers Respond to a Changing Climate

In the article There Is No More Normal: New England’s Farmers Respond to a Changing Climate,American Farmland Trust highlights the challenges New England farmers face due to climate change, emphasizing the unpredictability and extremes in weather patterns. The historic drought of 2022 led to significant agricultural losses, prompting discussions on the absence of a “normal” growing season. These discussions evolved into the “No More Normal Farmer Roundtable” events, where farmers share knowledge and discuss climate change impacts and solutions. The roundtables revealed common issues like changing spring temperatures, unreliable weather forecasts, and the effects of distant climate events, such as Canadian wildfires, on local farming.

Farmers expressed concerns over increasingly unpredictable weather affecting crop yields and livestock, and the difficulty of communicating with non-farming landowners who may not understand the intricacies of farming. They discussed various adaptations, including state-funded relief, shifting to baleage, and no-till farming, which improves field accessibility and efficiency despite its learning curve.

2. SCIENCE DEEP DIVE: SOIL CARBON & GHG EMISSIONS MODELING: Environmental Defense Fund Blog Article: How to Improve Soil Modeling to Maximize Climate and Farm Benefits

3. AGRICULTURAL METHANE: Environmental Defense Fund Growing Returns Article: Closing the Enteric Methane Emissions Innovation Gap: A Call for Funding High-Quality Research

4. MANURE MANAGEMENT: Environmental Defense Fund Growing Returns Article: Good Manure Management Must Involve Ammonia Emissions, Too

5. SCOPE 3 EMISSIONS: U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action Newsletter: May 2024 Newsletter – USFRA Monitoring, Providing Farmer Insights to Leading Scope 3 Emissions Consortium

1. CALIFORNIA NWL TARGETS & EELGRASS/WETLAND CONSERVATION FUNDING: The Pew Charitable Trusts Article: California Adopts Targets to Preserve, Restore Coastal Habitats for Climate Benefits

While reducing fossil fuel emissions is the most effective way to limit carbon pollution, managing natural and working lands (NWL) can also play a crucial role. Healthy lands can sequester carbon and limit future greenhouse gas emissions. Coastal wetlands, in particular, capture and store carbon at rates exceeding those of forests. However, California has lost an estimated 90% of its wetlands over the past two centuries due to development and other uses, leading to the release of stored carbon back into the atmosphere.

In response, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) has adopted new carbon pollution reduction targets for the state’s natural and working lands. These targets aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the adaptability of nature and people to climate change. They are among the first in the nation to account for the carbon sequestration powers of coastal habitats, known as “blue carbon.” This move marks a significant step in implementing a 2022 state law that mandates the CNRA to collaborate with other state agencies on greenhouse gas reduction targets for natural and working lands. 

Additionally, a 2023 law commits the state to conserving at least 30% of its lands and coastal waters by 2030, which could help advance these targets. A climate and equity bond proposal, backed by The Pew Charitable Trusts and over 150 other organizations, is being considered to marshal the resources needed to implement this work.

2. DEIJ & COASTAL CONSERVATION: Restore America’s Estuaries Blog Article: How NSF Funding Supported RAE’s Commitment to Advancing Inclusive Coasts

3. SEAWEED POTENTIAL: The Nature Conservancy Article: With the Right Tools, Seaweed Can Be an Important Piece of the Climate Puzzle

4. SCIENCE DEEP DIVE: DEEP OCEAN SEAWEED CARBON SEQUESTRATION: Nature Geoscience Study: Carbon Export from Seaweed Forests to Deep Ocean Sinks

5. STATE-LEVEL BLUE CARBON STRATEGIES: The Pew Charitable Trusts Blue Carbon Network: Webinar Recording (April 25) — How 3 U.S. States Incorporate Coastal Habitats Into Climate Change Planning

1. AMERICAN CLIMATE CORPS: U.S. Department of Agriculture Press Release: USDA Announces 28 Host Organizations to Train Future Conservation and Climate Leaders, as part of President Biden’s American Climate Corps

2. PRIVATE FOREST CONSERVATION: U.S. Department of Agriculture Press Release: Biden-Harris Administration Partners with States to Conserve 168,000 Acres of Private Forestlands as Part Of Investing in America Agenda

3. FOREST SERVICE CLIMATE ACTION MILESTONES: USDA Forest Service Press Release: USDA Forest Service Announces Milestones in Climate Action

4. SENTINEL LANDSCAPES PROGRAM: 

5. EXPLORE ACT & INCLUSION: Environmental & Energy Study Institute Article: How the EXPLORE Act is Promoting Accessibility on Public Lands

    1. ROADMAP 360º — CORPORATE CLIMATE DISCLOSURES:
    An article from CeresCeres Launches New Tool for Small to Medium-Sized Companies to Improve Their Sustainability Performance, announced the launch of Ceres Roadmap 360º, a new sustainability assessment tool aimed at assisting small to medium-sized companies in enhancing their sustainability performance. The Ceres Roadmap 360º is being launched at a critical time when the regulatory landscape for corporate transparency is shifting, with new rules requiring all U.S. public companies to disclose climate-related financial risks.

    2. CORPORATE CLIMATE DISCLOSURES: World Resources Institute Article: Corporate Climate Disclosure Has Passed a Tipping Point. Companies Need to Catch Up

    Did you find our newsletter helpful? Subscribe now to receive the complete edition, featuring climate job listings and upcoming significant events from our 28 coalition members, delivered straight to your inbox at the end of every month.