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Natural & Working Lands Challenge


The natural systems upon which we depend are essential to life and critical for reducing the impacts of climate change on our communities. These systems are also under threat from human activity and climate change. U.S. Climate Alliance States will manage natural and working lands, including forests, farms, rangelands, and wetlands, to be resilient carbon sinks and protect the communities, economies, and ecosystems that depend on them. 

The U.S. Climate Alliance recognizes that healthy landscapes sequester carbon and provide significant and cost-effective opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, the U.S. Climate Alliance States commit to: 

  • improve inventory methods for land-based carbon flux; 

  • identify best practices to reduce GHG emissions and increase resilient carbon sequestration; 

  • advance programs, policies, and incentives to reduce GHG emissions and enhance resilient carbon sequestration; 

  • undertake actions that will support a collective, Alliance-wide goal to maintain natural and working lands as a net sink of carbon and protect and increase carbon storage capacity, while balancing near- and long-term sequestration objectives; and 

  • integrate priority actions and pathways into state GHG mitigation plans by 2020.  

The U.S. Climate Alliance will work in the coming months to identify best practices and policy pathways for protecting and enhancing resilient carbon sinks. U.S. Climate Alliance States will consider and, as appropriate, adopt practices that increase long-term carbon sequestration in forests and forest products; reduce losses from catastrophic wildfire and land-use change; protect existing natural and working lands from conversion; support healthy soils on farms and ranches; restore coastal wetlands and sub-tidal habitats that protect shorelines against sea level rise; restore ecosystems and open space for watershed protection and recreation; and grow the urban forest and other greenspace to improve health and livability. These actions to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration will be undertaken in a manner that supports watershed health from source to tap; protects the viability of vital farmland, ranchland and productive forestland; fosters resilient rural economies; restores critical habitat and bolsters ecosystem adaptation to climate change; and offers recreational opportunities across our states. 



Take Action

The Alliance invites all national and subnational jurisdictions, tribes, businesses and other actors to make commitments to reduce GHG emissions and protect and enhance carbon sequestration across all natural and working lands at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California this September and thereafter. Please contact NWLchallenge@usclimatealliance.org if you would like to accept the NWL Challenge in conjunction with the Alliance. The Alliance will also display your logo on our website to recognize your leadership.

If you are a businesses, city*, university, or other subnational entity, you can also accept the #NWLChallenge by registering and describing your actions via We Are Still In's contribution platform

In addition to reaching out to decision-makers directly, help spread the word through social media:

  • Write about the need to protect natural and working lands
  • Share what you are doing to enhance resilient carbon sinks
  • Pledge to do more to reduce GHG emissions and protect and enhance carbon sequestration across all natural and working lands

Use the following hashtags: #NWLChallenge, #NWLChallengeAccepted, #NWL, #ParisAgreement #GCAS2018 and #StepUp2018