(December 23, 2022) – More than 80 percent of land in Indiana is devoted to farms, forests and woodland. Today, Congress passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act, which will assist farmers and foresters across in Indiana, the Great Lakes region and across the nation as they implement climate-friendly practices to reduce emissions from working lands. The bill now heads to the President’s desk for his signature, as part of the 2023 spending package.
“Scientists tell us we must address climate change to protect birds and the places they need. The Growing Climate Solutions Act will provide our region's farmers and foresters with the tools to scale up their climate-smart agricultural practices to reduce harmful emissions that contribute to climate change,” said Michelle Parker, Vice President and Executive Director for Audubon Great Lakes. “By acknowledging landowners and farmers as significant partners in the fight against climate change – the Growing Climate Solutions Act is a win for people, birds and our shared future.”
The Growing Climate Solutions Act establishes a registry of vendors that will assist farmers and foresters in adopting sustainable management practices like planting cover crops, prescribed grazing and reforestation. In addition to improving the health of working lands, these practices serve as natural solutions to reducing greenhouse gas pollution and increasing the amount of carbon stored in the soil.
North America has lost more than three billion birds over the past half-century, and two-thirds of North American bird species at risk of extinction due to climate change. Indiana currently supports over 208 bird species that depend on the state’s forests, grasslands and other natural areas to survive, including climate-vulnerable birds like the Red-headed Woodpecker. Nature-based solutions can provide up to 37 percent of the emission reductions needed to protect a majority of birds from the worst effects of climate change.
The legislation also removes barriers for landowners to access voluntary carbon markets, allowing them to access emerging credit markets to contribute to the national effort to reduce carbon emissions while tapping into new revenue streams. The bill directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to publish a list of the protocols for voluntary environmental markets, which have the potential to further support farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners in adopting sustainable management practices. These important steps will improve transparency of voluntary carbon markets, but significant action is needed to completely eliminate carbon pollution and ensure that all communities can enjoy clean and healthy air.
Audubon Great Lakes is grateful to the Audubon members across the Great Lakes region who spoke up for the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Together, they sent more than 14,500 individual letters to their Members of Congress in support of the legislation since it was first introduced in 2020.
Audubon Great Lakes thanks Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Mike Braun (R-IN) for their leadership introducing the Growing Climate Solutions Act in the Senate. We also thank our representatives across the Great Lakes region as well as the Democrats and Republicans who came together to support climate-smart agricultural practices.
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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive.