Forests + Lands

We catalyze action and innovative financing to reduce climate pollution from forests and lands

Creating Consensus on Climate and Forests

Since we opened our doors in 2008, Climate Advisers has been deeply engaged in efforts to promote U.S. leadership at the intersection of climate and forests.

In 2009, we created and staffed a bipartisan, high-level U.S. Commission on Climate and Tropical Forests, in partnership with the Meridian Institute. The Commission included prominent leaders from politics, business and the NGO community, including former U.S. Senators and cabinet officers, ambassadors, senior White House Officials, Fortune 100 CEOs and think tank founders, among others.

We also facilitated a multi-stakeholder agreement among NGOs and corporations that led to the formation of the Tropical Forest and Climate Coalition.

Together these efforts helped secure the U.S. commitment of $1 billion to reducing emissions from deforestation.

Mapping Forests and Making the Potential for Action Real

Too often, the impact and potential of major global climate policy is hard to see, accessible only to insiders and technical experts. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

In 2009, Climate Advisers created the Forest Carbon Index (FCI) – the first simple-to-use, interactive, data-rich tool that clearly showed the potential of each country and community to reduce deforestation.

Designed to be used by policy makers, the private sectors and academia, the FCI mapped hard data about biological, economic, investment and market-readiness conditions in every corner of the world.

The FCI helped tens of thousands of policy makers, investors, companies, NGOs and researchers grapple with the challenges and implications of integrating forests into climate policy. In the United States, the FCI was used by the State Department and the Congressional Research Service to illustrate the geographic scope of REDD+ in reports to Congress.

Combatting Illegal Logging

Illegal should mean illegal. Climate Advisers played a leading role in the successful defense of the nation’s oldest environmental law – the Lacey Act, which among other things bars imports of illegally logged wood and other forest products. The Lacey Act has cut global illegal logging by 22%, but in the summer of 2011 it came under assault.

After evidence emerged that Gibson Guitar had illegally imported rare rosewood and ebony species from Madagascar, the company’s CEO launched an intense media campaign to undermine support for the Lacey Act.

With the threat of imminent legislation to weaken the Lacey Act, Climate Advisers created a broad coalition of forest products companies, conservation organizations, workers, and top-selling musicians to defend the law. We built support among conservatives and the forest products industry. And with our partners, we recruited more than 60 leading companies and trade associations into the coalition, including the American Forest & Paper Association.

Days before a scheduled vote in the House of Representatives, support for the proposed legislation collapsed. Within weeks, Gibson settled its case with the Justice Department.

A Good Turn for Forests

Palm oil is in half of all consumer products, and demand in the United States is exploding – but it’s also a major driver of deforestation, pushing orangutans and Sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction. And for years untraceable palm oil, possibly from some of the most destructive and devastating plantations, was in Girl Scout cookies.

In partnership with Girl Scouts around the country led by 15 year old Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen of Ann Arbor, Michigan, Climate Advisers developed a public education campaign about the presence of palm oil in Girl Scout cookies.

The result was a public outcry and a demand that the Girl Scouts live up to their motto, “Do a Good Turn Daily.”

Following this effort, Girl Scouts USA and Kellogg’s have both committed to using only Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil certified oil by 2015. While we are working to improve these standards and accelerate the dates, they do represent significant progress.