By now, I am sure you have all heard reports about the historic vote that took place a couple weeks ago advancing the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454) out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. What you may or may not have heard is that the bill has many of the strong provisions for forests that you have been advocating for. Further, a number of big voices spanning from Duke Energy to the Walt Disney Company have recently joined the chorus in support of forests.
The American Clean Energy and Security Act passed out of the Committee would establish a program to provide incentives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation (Title III, “Sec 753”). Not only would the bill establish a program to address deforestation, but it provides a good chunk of change (5% of the allowance value allocation in the bill) to carry out the program. Funds could be used for financial and technical assistance and projects funded through the program must give “due regard” to indigenous peoples and forest dependent communities. As the bill moves forward, it is important to make sure the rest of the House members agree with their colleagues on the Energy and Commerce committee that “as part of a global effort to mitigate climate change, it is in the national interest of the United States to assist developing countries to reduce and ultimately halt emissions from deforestation.”
A historic agreement between Green groups and businesses announced the same week the bill passed out of committee is giving a nice boost to the cause. Recognizing the immediate opportunity federal climate change legislation presents to address global deforestation, a group of the nation’s leading environmental groups, conservation organizations, and corporations issued a set of consensus principles http://adpartners.org/pdf/ADP%20Forest-Climate%20Unity%20Agreement-%205-18-09.pdf related to forests for incorporation into federal climate legislation. With the groups committed to working together to advance these principles as the legislative process unfolds, and with many of these principles already reflected in the provisions of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, members on the Hill are hearing a more unified and amplified voice for forests.
These new voices, when coupled with the voices you’ve been cultivating in your communities, are positioning forests to win big in climate change legislation. A long and arduous road still lies ahead, but it is comforting to know the chorus of voices is growing.
You can find more useful fact sheets and resources at www.forestjustice.org/fact-sheets