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Close up of understory in a forest with shrubs and ferns, with some large tree trunks in the background.
Northampton forest Forests like this one in Western Massachusetts are one key factor in helping to address the climate crisis. They are a natural solution to reduce and remove carbon emissions. © Lauren Owens Lambert

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Massachusetts First State to Recognize Nature's Role in a Bold Climate Bill

TNC in Massachusetts applauds legislators for passing the Next Generation RoadMap for 2050, which employs strong nature-based climate strategies.

The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts applauds the legislature for the passage of the Next Generation RoadMap for 2050, today. This is a critical step toward addressing the urgency of the climate crisis in Massachusetts and beyond. 

“We are thrilled to see the Massachusetts play a nation-leading role,” said Deb Markowitz, State Director of The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “The threat of climate change cannot be understated, and radical changes are needed. This bill incorporates bold strategies that are backed by the science and that ensure the health of nature, people and the economy. We urge Governor Baker to continue the Commonwealth’s strong history of bipartisan collaboration on climate change and sign the bill into law.” 

The climate bill calls for a net zero greenhouse gas emissions limit for 2050 and emissions reductions across all sectors. It also calls for a transition plan to decarbonize our economy and transition away from fossil fuels. Notably, the bill calls for the incorporation of natural climate solutions which The Nature Conservancy’s science strongly supports. 

Natural climate solutions are strategies that protect, restore, and better manage natural and working lands, such as forests, farms, and wetlands, to reduce and remove carbon emissions. Nature is the only tool we have to draw carbon pollution from the air at scale and at cost. In Massachusetts, such solutions have the potential to remove and reduce an additional one to two million metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year—about same amount of carbon as emitted by 435,000 cars annually. 

 “Not only do natural climate solutions have strong benefits for healthier water, air, wildlife, and soil, many are quite affordable,” said Dr. Laura Marx, a forest ecologist with The Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts. “While it’s critical to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we must also remove carbon already in the air. Natural climate solutions offer a low-cost and powerful tool to do that while also providing economic, health, and recreational benefits.” 

Natural climate solutions can help address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding conversion of natural lands or improving management of those lands; by capturing and storing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; by providing shade and reducing urban heat island effects and associated energy usage; and by improving resilience of ecosystems, thereby helping communities adapt to the increase in flooding and dry spells associated with climate change.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 76 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 39 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.