A Carbon Policy that Works for Washington
January 4, 2018
Commissioner Franz outlines "Smart Carbon Policy" that invests in landscapes, communities
Today, in a letter sent to state leaders, Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz highlighted the threat climate change poses to our state lands and waters and called for our state to adopt a carbon policy that adheres to Four Resilience Principles.
In the letter, Commissioner Franz cited a new Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Climate Risk Assessment that details how climate change, caused by carbon pollution, endangers the health and productivity of our natural resources and communities.
The Climate Risk Assessment – the work of DNR and an Expert Council on Climate & Environmental Change comprised of scientists and professors from UW, WSU, and NOAA – warns of:
- Increased frequency and extent of wildfire
- Increased coastal flooding
- Summer water shortages, leading to a lack of water for agriculture
- Decrease in shell-forming organisms, such as oysters
- Increase in landslides
- More non-native and invasive species
“My duty is to ensure that our lands and waters remain healthy and productive – supporting Washingtonians not just today, but far into the future,” said Commissioner Hilary Franz. “Climate change not only threatens our ecosystems, it threatens the productivity of the lands that sustain so many communities, from farmers to loggers to shellfish harvesters.If we are to keep our lands healthy and productive, we must reduce carbon pollution.”
In order to meet the challenge of climate change head-on, Commissioner Franz outlined Four Resilience Principles of a smart carbon reduction policy:
- Tackle the root cause - carbon pollution - and invest in reduction efforts
- Strengthen the health and resilience of our lands, waters, and communities
- Accelerate carbon sequestration
- Invest in and incentivize solutions with multiple benefits
These principles are intended to guide and inform our state’s debate on carbon policy, yielding solutions that prioritize investments in the health and productivity of our lands and waters, such as funding marine restoration and incentives to keep working farms from being converted to other uses.
“Smart carbon policy means that we must both reduce carbon pollution and strengthen our communities,” said Commissioner Franz. “By strengthening our working forests and farms, by making investments to ensure they are resilient in the face of climate change, we also create economic security for the communities that depend on these lands.”
“Working forests play a critical role in battling climate change,” said Doug Reed, President, Green Diamond Resource Company. “We at Green Diamond appreciate Commissioner Franz’s leadership in proposing solutions that reduce carbon and help support rural economies. We believe that thoughtfully crafted legislation can make a real difference and look forward to working together on this important issue.”
“Washington’s communities and families are already experiencing the impacts of a changing climate — wildfires, drought, flooding and sea level rise are stressing our state’s agriculture, tourism, forestry, community safety, fish and wildlife,” said Tom Bugert, State Legislative Director, The Nature Conservancy. “We applaud Commissioner Franz for taking the helm as a leader in a growing movement calling for practical solutions that work for Washington’s families and businesses.”
“The risks that climate change poses to state lands are real,” said Amy Snover, Co-Chair, Expert Council on Climate & Environmental Change; Director, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington. “The good news is that the same landscapes and communities that are threatened present us with many opportunities to build resilience for both the people and natural resources of Washington State.”
“Climate change is the most urgent issue of our lifetime and leaders like Hilary Franz should be commended for making climate resiliency and mitigation a priority,” said Fawn Sharp, President, Quinault Indian Nation.
The DNR Climate Risk Assessment, Commissioner Franz’s Letter to Legislators, and key facts and figures about climate change and strategies for protecting our lands and waters are available at: https://www.dnr.wa.gov/climate-change.
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