Climate change

Climate change is one of the largest threats we face as a species. It is also one of the largest threats to our public wildlands.

Americans are seeing longer and more intense fire seasons, severe droughts throughout the West, increased glacier melt in the Arctic and rising sea levels that consume our coastal wetlands. Not only do these extreme weather events jeopardize natural resources and the economy, they also greatly harm our public lands and the wildlife that call them home.  

The Wilderness Society is committed to supporting policies that reduce carbon emissions, transitioning American to clean energy, and supporting large landscapes that help nature cope in the face of climate change.

Keeping wildlands intact and resilient

America’s public lands play a crucial but underappreciated role in addressing the causes and consequences of climate change.

The Wilderness Society is working to ensure that wildlands contribute to the effort to combat climate change. From pioneering climate adaptation tools, to identifying crucial climate refuges where species can retreat to when their habitat is lost, to building innovative climate monitoring techniques, our scientists and policy advisers are working nationwide on diverse approaches that will keep America’s wildlands resilient in the face of a warming climate.

We are engaged in climate projects across the country, including Alaska, the Crown of the Continent, Heart of the Northern Forest, Southern Blue Ridge and the Sierra Nevadas. 

Transitioning to clean energy

Renewable energy is helping our nation to decrease the amount of harmful emissions that contribute to climate change. Wind and solar technology will play an important role in moving our energy future away from oil, gas and coal.

But while these clean energy sources will help us stop a warming climate, America's wildlands can suffer when energy is developed in sensitive places.

In order to protect our public lands from the harmful consequences of any energy development, The Wilderness Society is focused on identifying more suitable lands for clean energy development to occur without leaving a large environmental footprint.

We are seeking new public policies that guide energy projects to prescreened areas where conflicts with ecological and environmental resources are low, while advocating for protections for sensitive areas to put them off-limits to threatening energy development.

In addition, we work with other energy experts to help guide energy policies that incentivize investment in clean technologies or create markets for renewable energy.

 

  • Michael Reinemer

    Senator Cantwell, the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has scheduled a hearing in Seattle on August 27 to examine wildfire issues.  Senator John Barrasso, who chairs that committee’s Public Lands, Forests and Mining subcommittee, is also scheduled to participate in the hearing.

  • Tim Woody

    When President Obama visits Alaska at the end of August, climate change will be a key focus of his trip. The Wilderness Society developed the following memo to provide a brief primer on key Alaska public lands where the effects of climate change can already be seen. This information is intended to ease your research and inform your reporting during the president’s visit. It focuses on four areas where the president’s administration has made major, important decisions:

  • Anastasia Greene

    “We are heartened to see that President Obama is focusing on clean energy as part of building an enduring environmental legacy in the last 18 months of his presidency, and the Clean Power Plan is a good start,” said Jamie Williams, president of the Wilderness Society, one of the oldest conservation groups in the United States. "This administration has shifted the role our public lands play in powering the nation. We have solar projects on public lands for the first time ever.