Bipartisan Bill Addressing Pollution on Working Lands and Economic Support to Landowners Passes Senate

WASHINGTON (June 24, 2021) ­–  “The Growing Climate Solutions Act recognizes the critical role that our working lands play in storing carbon and helping slow the effects of climate change,” said Melinda Cep, vice president of natural solutions and working lands at the National Audubon Society. "While agriculture and forestry represent only a portion of the much larger fight against climate change, landowners are an important part of the solution."

The Growing Climate Solutions Act (GCSA) was passed by the Senate today. The bill creates a new program to self-certify technical assistance providers and third-party verifiers for the agriculture and forestry sectors for voluntary actions that are intended to reduce the amount of air and carbon pollution and for processes to naturally store carbon. The legislation seeks to address barriers to entry for landowners trying to access voluntary carbon markets, and encourages practices guided by science, while also refining protocols that account for additionality, permanence, and potential leakage.

A 2019 Audubon report found that two-thirds of North America’s birds will be vulnerable to extinction if global temperature rise is allowed to continue at current levels. The study found that climate threats faced by birds and their habitats have implications for people as well. Reducing emissions is key to holding off the worst effects of climate change. 

The bill directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to publish a list of the protocols for voluntary environmental markets. These markets have the potential to further support farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners in adopting sustainable management practices like planting cover crops, prescribed grazing, and reforestation. In addition to improving the health of working lands, these practices serve as natural solutions for reducing greenhouse gas pollution and increasing the amount of carbon stored in the soil. These important steps will improve transparency of voluntary carbon markets, but significant action is needed to completely eliminate carbon pollution and ensure that all communities can enjoy clean and healthy air. 

Audubon has previously supported state-level efforts to use natural climate solutions to reduce emissions in Texas and South Carolina, and helped secure the passage of legislation in Washington state to use farms and fields to capture carbon. Healthy fields and forests are natural solutions to climate change, while providing vital bird habitat that also benefits rural communities. Additionally, Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Initiative offers certification for beef and bison products that are raised on sustainable grasslands.

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The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.

Media Contact: Robyn Shepherd,