CLIMATE CHANGE
& PUBLIC LANDS

OUR POSITION

  • Broads supports keeping fossil fuels in the ground. It is our only chance to keep global temperatures and the Earth’s vital signs from reaching a tipping point. Fossil fuel corporations must not be allowed to shift costs of climate disruption to society while reaping profits from public lands.
  • Commercial timber harvests and development should take place on public forests only when an analysis demonstrates that carbon benefits exceed carbon costs over a two to four decade period. National Forest planning rules should require conservation of forested areas with a higher than average carbon biomass.
  • Public land management plans must consider and minimize the climate impacts of livestock grazing, roads and vehicular routes, recreation, and other activities. Wild public lands should be prioritized for maximizing carbon storage, biodiversity, and ecological function.
  • Natural water cycles on public lands must be rigorously protected to maintain quality, quantity, and ecosystem function. The federal government must protect and maintain water resources in trust for all citizens and for the benefit of ecosystem health and stability.
  • Broads supports a bipartisan call to action to minimize climate change impacts, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and enhance national and global
    security.

Here is a PDF of our climate change position statement.

 

Climate Change

What does climate change have to do with public lands? Everything!

 

 

Broads’ Executive Director, Shelley Silbert, speaks with Naomi Klein about public lands, education, and how activities on public lands affect climate change.

Much of Broads’ work is related to reducing or eliminating activities on public lands that contribute to global warming (and exacerbate the effects of our changing climate). Keeping lands and waters intact that sequester carbon and help species adapt to changing conditions is an important step to mitigate the effects of climate change.

We hear so much about greenhouse gases, but what exactly does that mean? Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the greenhouse gas we humans are most responsible for emitting. Although carbon exists naturally in our atmosphere as part of Earth’s carbon cycle, (exchanged between the atmosphere, oceans, plants, animals, soil, and people), human activities alter the cycle and upset the balance. This also affects the abilities of natural sinks (like forests and grasslands) to use or absorb CO2 and remove it from the atmosphere.

See our recommended reading list (below) to learn more about climate change.

What activities on public lands contribute to the affects of climate change?

The Folly of Fossil Fuels

Federally managed lands are a major source of U.S. energy production, contributing to at least 21% of our country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

From 2008 to 2014, oil production on public lands rose by nearly 45% to nearly 150 million barrels, and 40% of U.S. coal production comes from federal public lands.

Unconventional energy extraction (tar sands, hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and shale gas, oil shale, etc.) uses vast amounts of energy and water, causes permanent habitat destruction, and negatively impacts air and water quality.

Today, there are factions pushing to commit more and more public lands to energy exploration and extraction. Broads supports keeping fossil fuels in the ground and seeking alternative, clean energy sources.

Let the Forests Breathe

Our forests sequester more than 90% of carbon in the United States. Carbon stored above and below ground on public lands is a resource as critical as timber, water, biodiversity, recreation, fossil fuels, or other uses. The destruction of forests, which consume carbon dioxide, contributes to the increase in carbon dioxide.

Broads advocate that commercial timber harvests and development should occur on National Forests only when an analysis demonstrates that carbon benefits exceed carbon costs over a two to four decade period.

It’s a Moo Point

Livestock production and grazing on public lands is a significant contributor to the release of greenhouse gases. Animal production is estimated to account for 14.5% of global greenhouse gases, more than the total direct emissions from the transportation sector.

Additionally, grazing damage causes desertification and disrupts and damages soils, grasslands, wetlands, and water sources, all of which capture CO2 or store carbon. Drought and disrupted weather patterns exacerbate the injury caused by grazing.

Water We Thinking?

Water is life—and climate change leads to variability, uncertainty, and scarcity of water resources. All the activities above, including roads and routes and recreation can degrade surface and groundwater systems and ecosystem function. The agencies overseeing our public lands must prioritize protection of water resources threatened by climate change.

 

A Threat to National Security

Reports from governmental, government-sponsored, and non-governmental sectors recognize climate change as a threat to national security. These reports show a high probability that climate change will destabilize society, leading to unrest, global conflict, and economic malaise. Changing and unpredictable weather patterns may lead to flooding, drought, disrupted access to energy supplies, and short supply of fresh water and food.

Broads supports a bipartisan call to action to minimize climate change impacts, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and enhance national and global security.

How Broads Help

Everything we do to protect and restore our public lands helps mitigate the impacts of climate change. That’s why the work of our Broadbands is so important. To get involved, contact your local Broadband or contact the national office to find out how to get involved. Watch our website for action alerts and events that provide opportunities for education, advocacy, stewardship, and (of course) fun.

Broadtastic Books: Climate Change