Conservation in a Changing Climate
Northeast Region

Climate Change in the Northeast: 

  1. Technical Tools
  2. What Size Are Your Carbon Feet
  3. Outreach and In-Reach
  4. Carbon Sequestration and Voluntary Carbon Market
  5. Emotional Intelligence

To view the powerpoint presentations from these sessions, please visit our Conference Powerpoints page.

June 4, 2008

Concurrent Session 3A
Technical Tools

Technical Tool: Sustainable Building Design & Innovative Fleet Management


Key Ideas

Lead by example, be proactive in project design and business practices.  Most of us aren’t large enough to make a big difference through our specific actions but we can set the example and educate our public

Incorporating green technology makes good sense, especially when designing new buildings

Snowball effect – once you’ve designed a new building with green technology, it opens up many possibilities to go back and retrofit existing facilities

Look around for simple, small ways to incorporate green practices; e.g., using bio-diesel fuel in a few vehicles is a very easy way to start


Action Items and Tools Needed

LEED design/certification.  Also LEED commissioning – independent review of both design and construction to ensure it does what it was designed to do.

Applicability of green systems is not universal; i.e., it’s not one-size-fits-all.  Do your research.  Go see the design or technology in operation beforehand and decide what will work for your site and your needs.

Involve employees in a personal way; e.g., commuting practices; using green practices at home; etc.

Need agency support such as IT infrastructure and/or HR policies that allow for offsite work to reduce commuting – part of a larger agency policy

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Concurrent Session 3B
What Size Are Your Carbon Feet

Technical Tool: Sustainable Building Design & Innovative Fleet Management


Climate Friendly Parks

  • GHG emission inventory uses the Climate Leadership in Parks (CLIP) Tool
  • Climate Friendly Parks Programs is an effort between NPS and EPA and the goals are:
    • Measure emissions
    • Develop strategies to mitigate
    • Share successes and educate public

GHG Emission Inventory

  • understand emission inventory
  • establish inventory scope
  • collect and record data
  • populate CLIP tool
  • submit and draft emission inventory
  • update annually

Carbon Foot Print Analysis

  • Marshing Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park
  • 10 years as a national park
  • Goals
    • To demonstrate a more sustainable energy future for national park and partners
    • To develop park programs that offer learning opportunities and civic dialogue on climate change
    • Green Inside Out has six principle components
      • Assessing and monitoring park operations
      • Increasing energy efficiency
      • Converting renewable energy sources
      • Promoting 3rd party certification
      • Developing an alternative mass transportation strategy
      • Supporting cooperative conservation strategies and local agricultural effort

Question 1 Key Issues

        • Is CLIP tool available for states
        • Are emission inventories mandartory for parks
        • What data is used in CLIP tool to calculate emissions
        • Is there any resistance to technology

Question 2 Action Items

  • Incentives needed to promote carbon foot prints
  • Funding is needed to go green
  • Monitoring is needed but is a hard sell because of lack of funding
  • Lack of upper management commitment because of a lack of understanding

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Concurrent Session 3C
Outreach and In-Reach

Climate Change Education and Outreach, Julie Thomas McNamee, Air-Climate Liaison NPS, WASO


Originally scheduled speaker:
Karen Scott
Education/Outreach Specialist
U.S. EPA, Climate Change Division

EPA has been communicating about climate change for a long time. - Online toolkit (EPA with FWS and NPS), other resources. Improvements and updates to toolkit underway: Grade 6-8 target.

EPA and federal partners has related initiatives, e.g. Heat Health, Sea Level Rise, Tribes, Climate Friendly Parks, Climate Ready Estuaries

NOAA and NASA has good info online, but hard to find. NOAA and other agencies have created Climate Literacy document for educators: teaching principles and concepts.

NASA has online tool similar to GoogleEarth; other resources.

USDA – research on impacts of agricultural practices

Dept of Energy – “Energy Hog” online

NPS – John Morris in Alaska has led effort on communicating climate change for that agency; focus on what can be done; “Arrange for Change” portable exhibit and materials; “Earth to Sky” in partnership with NASA, others; the Interpreters “Decision Tree” organization tool;

Climate Friendly Parks Program (NPS and EPA) – measure GHG emissions and criteria air pollutant (CAP) emissions; develop sustainable strategies to mitigate emissions; educate the public about NPS’s efforts to address climate change; empower individuals to “do your part!” [ties to EPA carbon footprint calculator]; participant info feeds into NPCA database:

Inreach is as important; some within don’t believe in climate change; however, sustainability should be a management goal regardless of climate change factors.

Leslie Weldon, US Forest Service, Washington Office, External Affairs

Within Forest Service, focus on in-reach, internal communication about science, politics, actions related to climate change.

Recently completed video targeted mostly at Forest Service employees; previously executed employee survey.

2009-2013 strategy incorporating climate change aspects into mission delivery cross programs; Climate Council within agency developing strategy, providing oversight.

Lay a foundation relevant to each employee; make global phenomenon relevant to those within the agency.

Five management goals related to climate change

Employee Awareness Survey – Survey Monkey tool used to assess level of understanding in May 2008; Climate Awareness Day May 20; 1,000 of 35,000 FS employees; 16.5% completed. Revealed good level of understanding about climate change, but lesser understanding about what the FS is doing about it; plans for future follow-up survey.


External awareness: Web resources like other agencies; room for improvement particularly as it relates to common messages among resource agencies.

[video shown; first aired to agency employees May 20]

Questions specific to this part of the session:
Are there specific issues – cutting, sale, fire practices,e.g. – that address climate change? Veg management ; to reduce fuels, control forest pests, Wildland Urban Interface; Focus fuels reduction work in geographic areas that make the most sense; adaptation; broaden connection between hydrological cycles and trees.

Method of distribution to employees? Key was to get the conversation started; managers were given latitude on how tools were presented to employees; one issue is conundrum of saying forest fires are burning larger and longer, while saying forests help address climate change impacts.

Change personnel accomplishment reporting to reflect changing work focus, e.g. green team participation, etc., that add new responsibilities? Ties into sustainable ops strategy for agency that trickles down into management manuals, etc.; is a permanent change phasing in over time. Meets Presidential goals related to energy efficiency.

What are the KEY ISSUES from this session?

  • Must tell people what we are doing to address climate change
  • In-reach is needed to build employee awareness about the issue and management activities to address it.
  • As natural resource agencies, we must lead by example. Challenge is that more energy-efficient materials and equipment are more expensive; model for employees and others.
  • Budgets don’t always support agencies being “green”; government supply, GSA, don’t offer affordable energy-efficient equivalent alternates for vehicle purchases, for example. [NPS concessions contractors must submit management plans just like other agency programs; however, are often big companies]
  • Can’t say you’ve succeeded if you can’t measure it.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel; share expertise.
  • Clearly identify target audiences; don’t make assumptions about what audience (either internal or external) does or does not understand.
  • Outreach should address how efforts in the U.S. fit into international situation; shape how audiences think about our role in the bigger picture.

Can you identify ACTION ITEMS and any institutional changes/connections/tools needed to accomplish them?

  • Align communication messages across agencies; messages should be clear and consistent
  • Build awareness to internal audiences; builds ownership in management decisions; in-reach becomes outreach.
  • Combine messages with economic incentives to increase impact,
  • Agencies should implement internal communications actions similar to those done by the Forest Service; approach serves as a model for others.

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Concurrent Session 3D
Carbon Sequestration and Voluntary Carbon Market

Carbon Sequestration and Voluntary Carbon Market, Sarah Hines, USDA


Only 7% national forest land in NE
National baseline – net offset about 10% of US emissions
Enormous potential of forests to store C and keep out of environment
Have great ability to measure potential in live trees and wood products
Issue 1 Permanence – Will the carbon stay out of the atmosphere?
Issue 2 Leakage – Will emissions be produced elsewhere as a result of projects?
Issue 3 Additionality – Would the emissions occur anyway?
Issue 3.5 Baselines - What are we measuring benefits against?
$1.53 per forested acre to get involved as private forest landowner
2 markets – Chicago Climate Exchange, Over the Counter Market
Historically $4 per ton of CO2
Some private aggregators to pool C sources
Pilot program Michigan DNR involved
Won’t get rich on this, but could allow some revenue to keep land in family
.5 to 2 tons per acre per year sequestered equals 2-7 tons CO2
About $50 per acre per year could be received today minus administrative costs
Need to reach out to private forest landowners on this potential

Clarification Questions for Sarah Hines
CCX requires forest land to be certified – Need at least 100 acres to be worthwhile
Additionality question, CCX uses baseline level
How do you factor in harvested wood? It is calculated in
Forest lost due to catastrophy Landowner not liable beyond a certain point
Jad Daley Trust for Public Land Forest Working Group
Trees holding leaves longer in recent years due to climate change could lower value
Industrial forest landowner harvesting timber – can they harvest less to earn more credits? Right now wood is more valuable
Who does on-the-ground verification? Not Forest Service, others do for fee
Is carbon used in timbering operations counted? Yes and no
Long term commitment CCX is 15 years? Can cut down with no penalty after

Sarah Murdock TNC
Land use carbon as an offset in regulatory context
Deforestation globally accounts for 20% of carbon emissions
Conservation and reforestation projects in US Belize Bolivia and Brazil
$36 million, 1.7 million acres, 17.5 million tons CO2 over past decade
Land use offsets are important
Offsets equal emissions reduction from non-regulated sources
Offsets allow for tighter emissions caps
Increased political support for cap and trade program
Rigorous rules to ensure emission reduction
Probably transition from voluntary to regulatory markets
Goal - Carbon offsets from land use equal reduction from regulated sources
Regulatiory programs
Lieberman Warner being debated right now in Senate
Northeast regional greenhouse gas initiative (RGGI)
Western Climate Initiative and Midwest Climate Initiative
Described RGGI Model Rule Offset Provisions
Lieberman Warner includes $300Billion for conservation actions to increase carbon by sequestration
Bill also includes international provisions to address deforestration
Northeast Carbon Sequestration Report
To quantify greatest opportunities at lowest cost and greatest degree of environmental co-benefits
Maryland to Maine study area
Mapping on county basis
No till agric lowest cost, but relatively low benefit in agric lands
Forest lands activities more diverse in opportunities – not one dominant practice
Res-stocking understocked forests provides greatest potential for sequestering at lowest marginal costs
5-year toration extension also has potential
Riparian buffers relatively expensive

Clarification Questions for Sarah Murdock
Didn’t look at no harvest scenarios
At what stage do forests sequester most carbon – Controversial, but definitely slows down when reaching couple hundred years
Does TNC sell offsets in CCX? Have had some hesitancy on rules.
What about programmatic funding like no-till agric (Conservation Reserve Program)? Yes would like to see. Would need verification


What are key issues from the session? Can you identify action items and any institutional changes/connections/tools needed to accomplish them?

1. Sequestration is critical to climate change discussion

2. Are offsets the best mechanism to involve forests?

3. Should Federal lands be involved? If so, there would be additionality questions. But Federal lands (USFWS Southeast) have been involved in the voluntary market

4. What are implications to other Federal programs such as riparian buffer protection? Will landowners be able to be involved in multiple programs?

5. Aside from the market, shouldn’t agencies manage land better for sequestration and lead by example?

6. Can offsets be used to address timeframes longer than 5 years? For example, how can we achieve more late successional forests on the landscape?

7. Co-benefits need to be part of programmatic solutions. $300B administered through the federal agencies will be focused on co-benefits.

8. How to get private landowners involved? Need to clearly express economics to them. If the economics are beneficial, then they are likely to participate

9. How do we provide the message for adaptive management at same time as pursuing carbon sequestration?

10. Timing is right to get information into the discussion as carbon sequestration issues are being discussed right now.

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Concurrent Session 3E
Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence in Climate Change: What’s your Leadership Philosophy?, Virginia Farley, Andy Pitz


Session Objectives:  Explore the emotional intelligence of climate change and the challenges and opportunities for leaders.  Reflect on beliefs and values.  Engage in dialogue with colleagues.  Develop a personal leadership philosophy.


1. We started with a few framework basics:

            ---What is emotional intelligence and how is it applicable to climate change?  Climate change requires the most of all our intelligences and wisdom.  Emotional intelligence means we have self awareness, social awareness and skills in managing our feelings and our relationships.

            ---Left brain/right brain – we need them both!  We need the facts, science, and logic of left brain and ALSO need the emotions, wisdom, creativity of the right brain. 

---Systems thinking – positive and negative feedback loops work both for science and for processing emotionally provocative information.

2.  We discussed how people are processing the information and in some cases physical experiences of knowing about and seeing climate change. 

3.  We also discussed what does leadership on this topic require of us?
Who is in your sphere of influence, your network?
What are your unique skills, knowledge, wisdom?
How does self-awareness play a role?
What leadership principles are most meaningful to you?

KEY ISSUES – Climate change as a challenge is different from other conservation challenges in many ways including:

-- These are highly uncharted areas with high degrees of uncertainty
-- It requires tough choices---most people will have to engage in change (which for some will feel like sacrifice) perhaps without seeing the effects – it challenges the American way
-- It is a huge magnitude – global, spatial, temporal, and is very complex-- thus can seem hopeless
-- There is still a lot of denial, or people are not convinced, or simply discount it
-- We are seeing all the good conservation work of 30+ years reversed
-- It is hard to know how best to communicate on this issue
-- It is a tremendous opportunity – people are becoming aware and “green”, it opens up possibilities for land and other resource protection as attention is turned toward the environment
-- It may require change in basic structures (socio, economic, governmental)

WHAT DO WE NEED TO ACCOMPLISH OUR GOALS – What Leadership Principles are helpful when dealing with this issue

-- Effective communication – being honest but not overwhelming, straightforward but not depressing
-- Having a clear intention and positive attitude about the work
-- Fostering a healthy sense of detachment
-- Avoiding burnout – balancing work and personal lives – taking time to smell the roses
-- Finding acceptance – and being okay with the change
-- Work through the emotions, including the tough ones
-- We need to walk our talk – be the change we want to see happen in the world – or others won’t be encouraged to change
-- Let’s remember that there are many other issues needing our attention and concern
-- We have an obligation not to give up
-- We must not assume that every catastrophe is related to climate change
-- We need to work with children and their creativity – there will be answers to many of the problems
-- Make the connection to healthy lifestyles – riding bikes is good for your health
-- We must foster optimism – the future will be different, not necessarily worse
-- We can create new motivations for people to get involved and make change
-- In interpretation, education and outreach – we need to find a careful balance in providing information to the public and visitors

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For a disk with many of these presentations, contact
Richard O. Bennett, Ph.D.
Regional Science Advisor
Northeast Region
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Last updated: December 16, 2011