Climate Change Solutions

Mason Cummings, TWS

Public lands should be part of the climate change solution

While public lands are known for conservation, recreation and cultural preservation, millions of acres are currently leased by fossil fuel companies for the extraction of coal, oil and gas. The federal government pays little scrutiny to the development of these fossil fuels and the pollution they generate, despite their considerable contribution to the climate crisis that is hurting our communities and wildlife. 

About one-quarter of the U.S.’ greenhouse gas emissions that trigger climate change can be traced back to oil, gas and coal from public lands and waters.

As global temperatures warm to dangerous levels and we experience more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, hurricanes and other extreme weather events, we need to act urgently to curb emissions. Part of the solution is to transform public lands management to prioritize our health and future instead of corporate profits. 

We strive to make public lands and waters entirely pollution-free. The first step is to make public lands a net-zero source of emissions by 2030 and support a just transition for fossil-fuel-dependent communities. We also want to boost responsible renewable energy development in the right places and to protect forests and landscapes that play an important role in absorbing climate change emissions. 

Public lands can and should be part of the climate solution for the benefit of all people. 

What we're doing

  1. Phasing out fossil fuel emissions from public lands

    We work with public leaders to rapidly and fairly phase out oil, gas and coal development that occurs on public lands.

  2. Promoting environmental and economic justice

    We work with partners to ensure the transition to pollution-free public lands involves and invests in communities that depend on the work and revenue from fossil fuel production and those most impacted by fossil fuel pollution.

  3. Developing responsible renewable energy on public lands

    We promote the development of renewable energy on public lands in places that have high energy potential and low impact on wildlands and wildlife.

  4. Protecting our remaining forests

    We protect forests that function as major carbon sinks, absorbing and trapping greenhouse gases that are warming our planet.