Senate acts on climate

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act with a resounding vote of 92-8, delivering a big win for farmers and foresters in addition to the climate.

By Chelsea Welch July 2, 2021

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act with a resounding vote of 92-8, delivering a big win for farmers and foresters in addition to the climate. The bill was led by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat from Michigan, Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina.

This is one of the first major pieces of bipartisan climate legislation that specifically seeks to harness the power of natural climate solutions while elevating the role of agriculture and forestry producers in helping to reduce carbon emissions. The bill lowers technical entry barriers for farmers, ranchers and foresters who are considering participating in voluntary carbon markets. And that’s great news for land trusts and the landowners with whom they work.

If the bill becomes law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture would be tasked with certifying and maintaining an online database of experts available to help guide producers and landowners who are interested in exploring how to implement carbon offset projects. Think of undertakings such as improved forest management or avoided grasslands conversion. These are all steps in the right direction as America scales up its voluntary carbon markets to help tackle climate change.

The bill now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, where it has several cosponsors on both sides of the aisle. If this widely supported bill passes the House and is signed into law, it can serve as a model for future bipartisan efforts that tackle climate change. That’s why we urge you to contact your representative and ask him or her to support the Growing Climate Solutions Act.

Watch our blog for future updates on this and other bills of interest to the land conservation community.