Throughout our state, climate change is stressing landscapes, waterways, species, and communities. From our coasts to our inland shrub-steppe, we are seeing detrimental impacts such as ocean acidification, increasing wildland fires, drought, and rising temperatures. As your elected steward for public lands, I am committed to ensuring that the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) uses every tool at our disposal to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. And as a manager for almost 6 million acres of our state’s precious lands and waters, DNR is uniquely positioned to be a leader in this burgeoning sector for natural climate solutions.
Carbon projects offer a path to be proactive in the face of a rapidly changing climate. The Washington Department of Natural Resources’ Carbon Playbook lays out opportunities to implement or support carbon projects in our state that will provide real and verifiable climate benefits. These exciting opportunities hold the potential to provide environmental, economic, and social justice benefits for communities throughout our state. We understand that challenges and limitations exist for carbon projects and have listed them here. Our view is that these challenges represent opportunities to partner with our communities, the private sector, and others to create innovative solutions.
I encourage everyone to seize upon these opportunities and partner with the Department of Natural Resources to establish carbon projects that provide good stewardship, good governance, and good returns on investment. A partnership with us will not only reduce carbon in the atmosphere, but also at the same time stimulate new economic industries and fund critical social services. In working with DNR, together we can create a more sustainable environment, renewable economy and just society.
We also offer this playbook as a model for other state agencies, local governments, and non-profits to follow as they consider the types of carbon offset projects that might most benefit their work and communities.
Now is the time to take bold action on behalf of our climate and aggressively limit the amount of carbon pollution in the atmosphere through a diverse array of natural climate solutions and carbon capture technologies. To keep the Evergreen State truly evergreen, we must address the root cause of climate change: carbon emissions. And we must invest in natural climate solutions. Our Carbon Playbook outlines the breadth of opportunities that exist in Washington to level up our efforts to protect our people, communities, lands and waters from climate change.