The President’s groundbreaking speech on climate change was as an historic step to follow up on his message to Congress that if they don’t take action on climate change, he will. But will he now follow suit by taking even bolder actions on forests?
Old-growth temperate rainforest in southwest Oregon with large carbon-storing trees marked for logging (photo credit: F. Eatherington, Cascadia Wildlands)Following the hottest year on record, and $110 billion in storm related and other climate chaos damages, the President is reading the climate change tea-leaves and taking advantage of how the public is gradually warming up to weird weather being the new norm. His milestone “Climate Action Plan” includes fuel-efficiency standards for heavy trucks, tougher rules on new and existing power plants, efficiencies in the energy grid, and a menu of other climate change mitigation and adaptation measures that will set the stage for new policies on climate change for years to come. But where do forests fit in the mix of climate change remedies? The President’s announcement includes “preserving forests in their role to mitigate climate change.” Specifically, he aptly notes that “conservation and sustainable management can help to ensure our forests continue to remove carbon from the atmosphere” and, in recognizing this, he is directing federal agencies to “store more carbon” in forests.