Climate change is a serious problem that is already impacting the communities where we live and work, and the integrity of Washington’s lands and waters. We believe that conservation is an integral part of climate change mitigation and adaptation. After much discussion, the Washington Association of Land Trusts has chosen to endorse Initiative 1631, a Washington State ballot measure that addresses carbon pollution and community resiliency in the face of a changing climate. Learn more about WALT’s position.
Protect Washington Act
Washington Initiative 1631, also known as the Protect Washington Act, will be on the ballot in Washington State on November 6th. The initiative would enact a carbon emissions fee on large carbon emitters.
Revenue from the fee would go into three funds: (1) a fund for air quality and energy programs and projects, (2) a fund for water quality and forest health projects, and (3) a fund for community-related investments. Learn more about the ballot measure here.
Initiative 1631 aligns with many of WALT Climate Principles. This bill would create funding sources for projects like carbon sequestration, the protection and restoration of shorelines and nearshore habitats, and forest health and wildfire resilience.
Land trusts and the private landowners we work with will play an important role as Washington works to address this challenge for today and the future. With deep expertise in preventing conversion of open space, restoring the health of native habitats, and protecting working landscapes, land trusts are ready to be part of the solutions proposed by Initiative 1631.
Carbon sequestration and mitigation
Carbon sequestration is the long-term storage of carbon, aiming to either mitigate or defer the effects of climate change. Forests, grasslands, marine environments and other natural resources absorb approximately 15 percent of US carbon emissions, as a natural part of the carbon cycle.
Land trusts have the ability to both prevent conversion of lands to development and to implement management practices that increase carbon storage in forests, agricultural soils, and grasslands.
Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change adaptation addresses current and future impacts of sea level rise, changing weather patterns, more frequent and intense storm events, and increasing risk of wildfire and flood.
Through conservation and management of critical areas, land trusts can mitigate climate change impacts. Efforts to protect freshwater resources, improve water storage, retention and availability, and improve floodplain management will become increasingly necessary as the risk of drought and occurrence of severe storms grows. Land trusts’ ongoing work to improve landscape connectivity will become increasingly important as a way to help fish, wildlife and plants adapt to a changing climate.
Initiative 1631 is an important step in providing healthy air, clean water, and abundant natural resources for future generations. We encourage you to educate yourself on these issues and vote this November! Learn more about I-1631.
WALT is the unified voice for conservation issues of our time. You can support our statewide coalition by donating to WALT today.