Resolving climate change is one of the most compelling and complex challenges of our time. Our changing climate is disrupting nature’s perfect balance and threatens the very resources which sustain us all.
What We Face
We are already witnessing profound impacts from changes in temperature and precipitation:
- Instances of extreme heat and heat-related illnesses are increasing.
- Less snow and extensive droughts are threatening our water supply and agriculture.
- Sea levels are rising, posing an undeniable threat to our coastal communities.
Deforestation, which produces more carbon than all planes, trains and cars worldwide, is responsible for approximately 15 percent of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere each year. Over 25,000 acres of redwood, pine and oak forests are lost each year in California alone.
Even if we eliminated all greenhouse gas emissions today, our climate will experience profound alterations. Experts project that by the year 2050, San Francisco’s climate will feel much like Los Angeles’ and Los Angeles’ climate will feel much like Bakersfield’s.
A Case for Optimism
We are making significant progress in California to safeguard the health and prosperity of our residents. The Nature Conservancy is integrating innovative conservation solutions with policy recommendations to achieve three critical goals:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Remove carbon from the atmosphere
- Prepare for and adapt to the impacts of a climate-changed future
Successful Nature-Based Solutions
The Conservancy’s conservation expertise coupled with science-based policy recommendations positions us well to face the challenges climate change will bring. Together with public and private partners we are developing comprehensive, nature-based programs to minimize greenhouse gas emissions and manage the statewide effects of climate-related changes.
In California, we are:
- Collaborating with The Conservation Fund on California’s North Coast on the Garcia River Forest, an innovative carbon market project. The Garcia River Forest can store more than 77,000 tons of carbon emissions annually, enough carbon to offset the emissions of more than 14,000 cars every year.
- Engaging state officials and agencies to advocate for landmark California climate policy. The Conservancy helped secure a role for forest conservation and carbon offset programs in the State’s Climate Change Plan.
- Creating first-of-its-kind climate modeling and innovative conservation plans. The Conservancy’s California Climate Stress Index provides the finest level of detail available regarding the state’s projected temperature and precipitation changes over the next 100 years. Using this model, the Conservancy is designing conservation plans to protect nature and people in a future altered by climate change.
- Analyzing the economic and ecological impacts resulting from a changing climate. Conservancy scientists are analyzing the impacts of climate change on nature-based industries — from grazing to fisheries — to help make informed decisions.