Almost 40 percent of all the land in the United States is publicly owned. The nation’s parks, wildlife refuges, and forests help prevent climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide in plants, trees, and the soil.

Now some of them also host renewable energy projects. Kit Muller is the National Landscapes Coordinator with the Bureau of Land Management.

Muller: “The BLM has approved over 16,000 megawatts of solar, wind, and geothermal projects on the public lands and is on target to approve 20,000 megawatts by 2020.”

Muller says restricting new energy development – for renewables or new oil and gas wells – to areas that are already disturbed will help conserve the integrity of the remaining undeveloped land.

In addition to preserving public lands, Muller says we can also help them adapt to the higher temperatures, extreme weather, and increased wildfires associated with climate change by restoring areas that have been damaged by human activities or natural causes.

With careful planning, Muller says our beautiful national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands can contribute to climate change solutions.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.

More Resources
Public Lands May Be America’s Best Climate Defense
North American Intergovernmental Committee on Cooperation for Wildnerness and Protected Area Conservation
BLM Landscape Approach for Managing Public Lands

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...