U.S. Forest Service Joins California Climate Action Registry


Source: Environment News Service (ENS)

VALLEJO, California (ENS) - The U.S. Forest Service has become the first federal agency to register with the California Climate Action Registry.

By joining the registry, the Forest Service has committed itself to tracking and reporting greenhouse gas emissions created by its operations in California with the aim of reducing emissions that contribute to climate change.

The Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Region encompasses 18 national forests in California, which cover one fifth of the state.

With about 3,500 vehicles and 7,600 facilities in California, officials of the Pacific Southwest Region and Pacific Southwest Research Station say the agency can really boost the state's effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

'This is an issue that is very important to me personally and professionally,' said Pacific Southwest Regional Forester Bernie Weingardt.

'I feel that in addition to managing the public lands we are entrusted with, we also have a mandate to manage our operations in an environmentally responsible manner,' he said.

The Forest Service sees climate change 'as an important global issue with physical and ecological changes already documented worldwide,' the agency said in a statement June 5 announcing the registration.

'Because these and future changes will impact the sustainability of our forest ecosystems, the Forest Service takes this issue seriously and is exploring ways to contribute to the solutions being developed in California and worldwide,' the agency said.

Jim Sedell, director of the Pacific Southwest Research Station says his staff is committed to working with land managers across the region to provide the best available science.

Research is underway to examine the role of healthy forests in reducing emissions through the absorption of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide.

'We also are excited to have this opportunity to lead by example in reducing our own contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,' said Sedell.

The Forest Service's participation with the California Climate Action Registry will be phased in.

At first, greenhouse gas emission tracking will focus on vehicle fleet and facility emissions of the agency in California. At this stage it will not include emissions from wildfires, or from fires deliberately set by forest managers to reduce fuels.

A second phase may include the full range of Forest Service activities in California, including the tracking of biological emissions as well as potential greenhouse gas benefits from management activities.

The California Climate Action Registry is a non-profit public/private partnership establised in 2005. It serves as a voluntary greenhouse gas registry to protect, encourage, and promote early actions to reduce emissions.

Over 240 major companies, cities, government agencies and nongovernmental organizations measure and publicly report their emissions through the Registry. www.climateregistry.org

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