Federal Climate Policy

Audubon taps into people’s love of birds to protect them from climate change.

Baltimore Oriole, a species vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Photo: Shari McCollough/Audubon Photography Awards

Audubon works with federal decision makers both in the nation’s capital and at home in their backyards to achieve common sense solutions to climate change. We engage with our 1.7 million members and the 45 million Americans who consider themselves birders to make complex environmental impacts tangible.

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Natural Climate Solutions

We support the protection of landscapes that can naturally store carbon and provide places that birds need to survive. These landscapes include forests, wetlands, coasts, grasslands, and agricultural land.

Natural solutions rely on living things that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, like forests, prairies, sea grass, and soil. We call these features carbon sinks because they remove more emissions from the atmosphere than they emit. The restoration of these places,  as well as diversified agricultural practices like soil sequestration and responsible livestock and land management, can draw down emissions while simultaneously improving critical bird habitat.

100% Clean Electricity

We support a transition to 100% clean electricity by increasing renewable energy, preserving carbon-free energy sources, and phasing out coal power while protecting birds.

While we currently rely on fossil fuels to generate the majority of our electricity, there are a number of options that do not emit greenhouse gases as they operate, like wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels, and geothermal energy. Replacing fossil fuel-burning power plants with cleaner alternatives, including energy storage, is essential to reducing emissions.

State and federal standards that require electricity suppliers to provide 100% clean electricity can drive this change. Audubon supports the expansion of renewable energy that avoids, minimizes, and mitigates impacts to birds and their habitat.

Economy-wide Solutions

We support comprehensive policies that set binding emissions reduction targets, drive large-scale emission reductions, and protect or expand the places birds need.

Examples of economy-wide solutions include placing a fee on carbon emissions, which would require businesses to pay for each metric ton of carbon emitted. With a price on carbon emissions, sources that continue to emit emissions would either pay for their impact or find a new way to do business that is less harmful to the climate. Revenues could be invested in clean energy innovation, returned to consumers, or put to any number of productive uses.

Innovation

We support investment in the invention, improvement, and deployment of technology that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in every sector of the economy through research, public-private partnerships, and market-driven solutions.

Many of the solutions we will need to achieve a zero-carbon future have already been developed, but there are still gaps—for instance, in the wide deployment of energy storage—where technological innovation can further increase effectiveness or drive down costs. We must dedicate resources to institutions and researchers who are working to answer questions like how to make the electrical grid more secure and reliable, whether it is possible to design more efficient electrical generation units, and whether it is possible to capture greenhouse gases from the air and permanently sequester them.