Audubon’s new report, Survival by Degrees, offers a jarring look at the impacts of climate change on the birds we love. In Washington state, over half of bird species will be vulnerable to extinction by the end of the century if we continue down our current path. But the most important takeaway from our latest report isn’t that birds are facing a crisis – it’s that we have the power in our hands to protect birds and people from the worst impacts of a changing climate.
By taking action – personally and politically – we can hold our planet’s increasing thermostat to 1.5 degrees Celsius. By doing so, we’ll protect 76% of bird species in North America. That’s a pretty big deal.
Combating climate change can seem like a daunting challenge, and it is, but we have the solutions we need to move the needle and make a difference, for birds and people. We know how to not only reduce emissions, but also how to leverage nature’s ability to sequester carbon, while also supporting healthy rural landscapes and economies.
Thanks in part to Audubon’s advocacy, Washington state is already on its way to 100% clean electricity and we’re continuing our efforts to ratchet down our state’s transportation emissions. We’re excited to continue this work, but starting in 2020, we’re also turning our attention to what’s called natural climate solutions, policies that protect and enhance Washington’s farms, fields, forests, and coastal habitat in order to sequester carbon emissions.
Our goal is to do what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says is necessary: reach net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century. And here’s some good news: when we adopt policies that protect the birds of tomorrow by sequestering more carbon emissions, we also protect the habitat that birds need today.
We’re still working out the precise details of a policy that would set strict limits on greenhouse gas emissions and incorporate natural climate solutions into our state’s targets. For now though, Audubon Washington is working with stakeholders to refine and support legislation that would set up a “sustainable farm and fields” program. This program serves as an example of how our state can help support farmers and landowners who want to do what’s necessary to combat climate change, but just need a bit of support to make it happen.
Together, we’ve already achieved so much, setting an example of bold, aggressive climate action for other states and the federal government. But we can’t afford to slow down. Survival by Degrees shows us that there’s still time to act, but we must act quickly and aggressively, leveraging every solution we have to protect birds and people from our changing climate.
Join us in embracing natural solutions to climate change and we’ll help you understand how you can mobilize your community around natural solutions to climate change that will protect birds, now and into the future.