On October 8, the White House Council on Environment Quality released its 79-page Climate and Natural Resources Policy Agenda, summarized on a six-page Fact Sheet, outlining programs to support the President’s Climate Action Plan announced last year. While the details of the document merit further study, we note that the document not only promotes various measures to increase or conserve forest cover—including significant alignment with current timber tax treatment—but acknowledges the role of forest products among the endorsed carbon-mitigation measures.
• A “Tall Wood Competition” to demonstrate the use of wood in high-rise construction, as a carbon-sequestration option.
• Endorsing industry-supported initiatives to demonstrate the use of wood in preference to steel and concrete, “as a lower carbon-footprint building material.”
• Endorsing a major American Forest Foundation campaign to promote “climate friendly stewardship” among family and individual forestland owners.
Significantly, on Page 28, the Climate and Natural Resources Policy Agenda recommends “Strengthening the collection, coordination and assessment of field inventory data through the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program, the Natural Resources Inventory (NRI), and other surveys of terrestrial condition”—a recommendation which, if followed through with an adequate budget request, seems to acknowledge a key point that FRA and allies have been advocating in the context of carbon management policy.
As the Environmental Protection Agency prepares to release the “carbon accounting framework” that will define how the manufacturing footprint of forest products fits into a national carbon management strategy, it is encouraging to detect at least a hint of the White House’s own political position.