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Natural Systems Key to Addressing Climate Change

“Biocarbon” Vital Solution, Complement to Clean Energy Revolution

Climate Solutions, a Northwest non-profit that over the past decade has succeeded in placing clean energy on the economic development agenda of leaders throughout the region, is now launching a new program. The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative (NBI) will support biocarbon leadership and innovation.

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Oct 24, 2011

Portland, OR:   For years now, policymakers and the public have heard about the critical need to reduce fossil fuel use to stop global warming, as the burning of oil, coal and other fossil fuels releases carbon into the atmosphere, ultimately heating up the planet’s climate.  Absorbing carbon through natural systems, also known as “biocarbon,” is now emerging as a critical second solution to the climate crisis.  

Climate Solutions, a Northwest non-profit that over the past decade has succeeded in placing clean energy on the economic development agenda of leaders throughout the region, is now launching a new program. The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative  (NBI) will support biocarbon leadership and innovation.  

“To solve climate change, we have to do two very big things:  One, transform how we produce and use energy to get off of the carbon-based fuels; and two, re-green the planet to scale up carbon storage in natural systems.” said Rhys Roth, Director of Strategic Innovation for Climate Solutions.  “The Pacific Northwest can pioneer solutions that work from several angles -- helping kick-start the economy, create jobs, use less energy, beautify our cities and pull carbon pollution in the atmosphere back to earth.”

The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative galvanizes the region’s top biocarbon innovators – farmers, foresters, community leaders, and thinkers – to demonstrate the essential role that natural systems can play in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to ensure long-term climate stability.  For example:

  • John Aeschliman, an extraordinary no-till farmer in Colfax, Washington who has broken new ground to address by not breaking ground, and realized a second benefit of absorbing carbon; and
  • Rich Hunter works for a wastewater utility in Oregon’s Washington County that developed a much cheaper, all-natural alternative to installing a gigantic power-sucking chiller and at the same time cut carbon. 


“We need both the first climate solution and the second to address global warming and get our planet back on track,” concluded Roth.  
“We need both the first climate solution and the second to address global warming and get our planet back on track,” concluded Roth.  

“Our plant was looking at spending $100 million to comply with requirement to reduce water temperatures in the Tualitin River,” said Rich Hunter of Clean Water Services. “Instead, we’re planting native trees and shrubs to grow riparian forests upstream from our plant -- reducing water temperature at a fraction of the cost, and at the same time stabilizing stream banks, promoting fish and wildlife, filtering runoff, and pulling carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”  

Scientists conclude that atmospheric carbon levels are now higher than they’ve been in 15 million years, due to humanity’s burning of fossil fuels and transformation of landscapes. With carbon dioxide now over 390 parts per million, scientists are suggesting “. . . humanity has already transgressed” the climate boundary, and point to 350 ppm as the target to restore a “safe operating space for humanity.”   The way to meet that goal of 350 ppm is met through both cutting fossil fuels and absorbing carbon in natural ecosystems:  

bc graph

 

The Northwest has emerged as a national and global climate leader, with state and local governments in the forefront of climate policy and action planning.  Now, the region is emerging as a center of biocarbon innovation.

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Climate Solutions is a Northwest clean-energy economy nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate practical and profitable solutions to global warming by galvanizing leadership, growing investment and bridging divides. 

The Northwest Biocarbon Initiative (NBI) is galvanizing the region’s top biocarbon innovators – farmers, foresters, community leaders, and thinkers – to demonstrate the essential role that natural systems can play in reducing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to ensure long-term climate stability.  Partners include: American Farmland Trust, Bullitt Foundation, Climate Solutions, Conservation Northwest, Ecotrust, Oregon Environmental Council, Pacific Forest Trust, The Climate Trust, Washington Environmental Council, Wilburforce Foundation.

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