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Climate Action Reserve

The Climate Action Reserve

“As the premier carbon offset registry for the North American carbon market, the Climate Action Reserve encourages action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by ensuring the environmental integrity and financial benefit of emissions reduction projects.

The Reserve establishes high quality standards for carbon offset projects, oversees independent third-party verification bodies, issues carbon credits generated from such projects and tracks the transaction of credits over time in a transparent, publicly-accessible system.

The Reserve offsets program demonstrates that high-quality carbon offsets foster real reductions in GHG pollution, support activities that reduce local air pollution, spur growth in new green technologies and allow emission reduction goals to be met at lower cost…”

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Kennebec Land Trust
Brian Kent | Kennebec Land Trust

Sustainability and climate change initiatives

Increasingly, land trusts are recognizing that the public expects an authentic, integrated approach. Small land trusts can help connect the dots in a big way.

In their most recent climate initiative, the Kennebec Land Trust Finance Committee worked with Kennebec Savings Bank Investment and Trust Services to move their investments into a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) portfolio that is aligned with their mission. SRI considers environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact.

As managers of forestland, they use and promote forest management practices that maximize carbon sequestration, including: protecting soil carbon, where about 50% of the carbon inventory is typically stored on a forested acre; promoting native species and increasing plant diversity to improve forest resiliency and carbon storage; harvesting sustainably; and taking a long-term view by growing high-value and larger diameter trees. On the ground, their forestry days at the Curtis Homestead are teaching the next generations…

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Coastal Maine
COURTESY / BRIDGET BESAW, MAINE COAST HERITAGE TRUST

Coastal access, climate change key as Maine Coast Heritage Trust turns 50

Maine Coast Heritage Trust is increasingly talking about climate change to people from all walks of life. They are using personal stories and examples to help connect with shared values, and people are responding in a positive way.

Land conservation efforts by the organization have increasingly taken community strength and health into account, as much as the environment, and conservation’s overall impact on the state’s economic foundation. As the climate changes, that focus is more important than ever, he [Tim Glidden, president of Maine Coast Heritage Trust] said…

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Vermont Forest Carbon
Vermont Forest Carbon Report

Quantifying carbon stocks on conserved land

Carbon market participation will not work for everyone or everywhere. It will work best through project aggregation of properties that are medium (several hundred acres) to large (>1,000 acres) in size, well-stocked, and managed—and where the potential to provide co-benefits that are attractive to buyers in the voluntary market is greatest. Your land trust may also benefit from tracking the development of "aggregated" lands to meet acreage requirements and see how you could replicate it in your area.

Carbon project development in Vermont is compatible with, and in fact would be aided by, participation in other forest stewardship programs. These include forest certification, cost-share by EQIP and the Forest Legacy Program, and Vermont’s Use Value Appraisal (UVA) Program (also known as Current Use).

All three major certification Vermont Forest Carbon: a market opportunity for forestland owners 4 systems in the U.S. (Forest Stewardship Council [FSC], Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and American Tree Farm System) can be employed to meet various requirements under CARB and the voluntary markets, such as the need to have a comprehensive forest management plan…

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Light Through The Canopy
Mass Audubon article

Capturing carbon in Mass Audubon forests

“Mass Audubon is committed to fighting climate change through conservation, advocacy, and education. And we are always looking for innovative ways to make a real and lasting impact. Our recent entry into the California Air Resources Board (CARB) carbon offset market is a prime example.

Establishing a price on carbon is an effective way to harness economic pressure to force carbon emissions reductions, but no policy has yet been implemented at the federal level. The best model is California’s comprehensive carbon emissions reduction campaign, which includes a cap-and-trade program for industries…”

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Footbridge In The Woods
Mass Audubon article

The role of land conservation in fighting climate change

In the coming year, your land trust can help people connect the dots to what they love and how climate change puts it at risk. You then want to help them see solutions. Often these will be natural climate solutions (estimated at 21% of the needed response—if we act fast), including personal actions, as well as policies for energy conservation and renewables.

At Mass Audubon, [their] land conservation strategy is directly linked to climate change mitigation and adaptation. As the largest private land owner in Massachusetts with more than 38,000 acres protected, [they] know how critical land conservation and effective land management is in the age of climate change.

[Their] recent entry in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) carbon offset market ensures that 10,000 acres of forested land will be protected for the next 100 years, ensuring the carbon stored in this critical landscape remains there…

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Solar Partnership
GVLT

Solar for conservation

Land conservation may provide up to 21% of climate change solutions if we modify our management approaches. Transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy—and energy conservation—will be critical. How will your land trust promote all three?

“GVLT is proud to have conserved over 45,000 acres across our region. While protecting land from development and fragmentation is the first step, protecting the ecological integrity of our natural resources is equally as important which is why we’re proud to announce a partnership with On Site Energy. What’s the connection between land conservation and solar energy?

Fish need cold, clean water to survive, and rivers need high altitude snow pack to keep them flowing throughout hot summer days. Ranchers and farmers depend on the availability of that water for irrigation, and wildlife depend on the intricate balance of the changing seasons to maintain viable habitats…”

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MALT Sign
MALT

Can California’s protected farmland fight climate change?

Creating a page on your website dedicated to climate change is a good first step in raising awareness. But you need to drive people to your content: talk about it, post on social media, and share stories. Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) is talking about climate change. How might your land trust do the same? If your land trust focuses on agriculture, perhaps the following would be a good post to share, especially when you add your own pre-text to connect the dots with what you are doing.

“In the past year, the threat of climate change has risen to the forefront of public consciousness. With this growing awareness, many solutions are being offered to avert this crisis—from planting millions of trees to innovating electric car technology to passing state legislation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

One powerful tool to address climate change is putting in action land use planning policies that preserve working farms and ranches…”

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Smoke Stacks On A Cloudy Day
Judy Anderson

130 banks worth $47 trillion adopt new UN-backed climate policies to shift their loan books away from fossil fuels

If you or your land trust is considering the fiscal impact of climate change, or possibly divesting from fossil fuels, the momentum is growing to preserve assets and stop enabling continued misinformation and the destruction of lands and waters.

Banks with more than $47 trillion in assets, or a third of the global industry, adopted new U.N.-backed “responsible banking” principles to fight climate change on Sunday that would shift their loan books away from fossil fuels.

Deutsche Bank, Citigroup, and Barclays, were among 130 banks to join the new framework on the eve of a United Nations summit in New York aimed at pushing companies and governments to act quickly to avert catastrophic global warming.

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Pit

Do you have questions about divestment and socially responsible investment?

The Land Trust Alliance provides some thoughtful information on their climate change website about divestment and socially responsible investment.  You may find it helpful when discussing whether this is a path your land trust wants to take as a moral, ethical, and financial statement.

As the financial world looks at the risks associated with fossil fuels, others are considering different investment strategies, as noted in this article earlier this year from Forbes.

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