News and updates from the U.S. Climate Alliance.
2018 Natural & Working Lands Press Release Resilience

The U.S. Climate Alliance Commits to Maintain Lands as a Net Carbon Sink and Develop Pathways to Act by 2020

U.S. Climate Alliance issues Natural and Working Lands Challenge to the Global Climate Action Summit on September 12-14, 2018
August 23, 2018

The United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 17 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement, today issued a Challenge to protect our natural and working lands as a means of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing resilient carbon sinks.  The Challenge will be delivered to the Global Climate Action Summit, to be held in San Francisco on September 12-14, where climate leaders from around the world will convene to take bold climate action:


The natural systems upon which we depend are essential to life and critical for reducing the impacts of climate change on our communities. These systems are also under threat from human activity and climate change. U.S. Climate Alliance States will manage natural and working lands, including forests, farms, rangelands, and wetlands, to be resilient carbon sinks and protect the communities, economies, and ecosystems that depend on them.


The U.S. Climate Alliance recognizes that healthy landscapes sequester carbon and provide significant and cost-effective opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Therefore, the U.S. Climate Alliance States commit to:


  • improve inventory methods for land-based carbon flux;
  • identify best practices to reduce GHG emissions and increase resilient carbon sequestration;
  • advance programs, policies, and incentives to reduce GHG emissions and enhance resilient carbon sequestration;
  • undertake actions that will support a collective, Alliance-wide goal to maintain natural and working lands as a net sink of carbon and protect and increase carbon storage capacity, while balancing near- and long-term sequestration objectives; and
  • integrate priority actions and pathways into state GHG mitigation plans by 2020.


The U.S. Climate Alliance will work in the coming months to identify best practices and policy pathways for protecting and enhancing resilient carbon sinks. U.S. Climate Alliance States will consider and, as appropriate, adopt practices that increase long-term carbon sequestration in forests and forest products; reduce losses from catastrophic wildfire and land-use change; protect existing natural and working lands from conversion; support healthy soils on farms and ranches; restore coastal wetlands and sub-tidal habitats that protect shorelines against sea level rise; restore ecosystems and open space for watershed protection and recreation; and grow the urban forest and other greenspace to improve health and livability. These actions to reduce GHG emissions and increase carbon sequestration will be undertaken in a manner that supports watershed health from source to tap; protects the viability of vital farmland, ranchland and productive forestland; fosters resilient rural economies; restores critical habitat and bolsters ecosystem adaptation to climate change; and offers recreational opportunities across our states.


The Alliance invites all national and subnational jurisdictions, tribes, businesses and other actors to make commitments to reduce GHG emissions and protect and enhance carbon sequestration across all natural and working lands at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California this September and thereafter.

About the Alliance

Launched on June 1, 2017 by the governors of Washington, New York, and California to help fill the void left by the previous administration’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement, the Alliance has grown to include governors from across the U.S. Governors in the Alliance have pledged to collectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, at least 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030, and collectively achieve overall net-zero greenhouse gas emissions as soon as practicable, and no later than 2050.


Alliance states and territories are achieving lower levels of air pollution, delivering more energy savings to homes and businesses, preparing more effectively for climate impacts, generating more electricity from zero-carbon sources, and collectively employing over 40% more workers in the clean energy sector than the rest of the country. For more information on Alliance members’ bipartisan, cross-sector climate action, see our Fact Sheet.