Natural Climate Solutions

Reducing greenhouse gases & improving water quality


Natural Climate Solutions are land management, protection and restoration practices that hold carbon and other nutrients in the soil while removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Reducing emissions alone will not be enough to meet global carbon-reduction goals.

We must also remove and store carbon from the atmosphere. Natural climate solutions provide an immediate solution—our own environment has the inherent capability to serve as a massive carbon sink.

Practices that store carbon in soils simultaneously provide improvements to soil health and fertility, local water quality, and resilience of farmland against the effects of a changing climate.

Natural Climate Solutions are relatively low-cost and can be implemented now. 

Wisconsin needs bold, science-based policy and collaboration across all sectors to reverse the decline of our water resources and fight the challenges posed by climate change.

Opportunities for Carbon Storage

Forests, Grasslands, Wetlands, Working Farms

Harvesting Kernza in Walworth County, Wis.
Courtesy Michael Fields Agricultural Institute

The Urgent Need for Climate-Smart Agriculture 

Thirty percent of Wisconsin’s land is used for agriculture —more than 14 million acres. But all that production comes with a cost:

Agriculture is responsible for 15% of Wisconsin’s total greenhouse gas emissions, and that contribution is growing. 

Mono-cropping (the practice of growing a single crop year after year on the same land) has led to tired soils, resulting in nutrient loss and erosion.

Over-application of fertilizer is harming groundwater, streams, rivers and lakes. 

But there are solutions, and Wisconsin farmers can lead the way.

Find out more about Climate-Smart Agriculture

Natural Climate Solutions

Stories from the Field

Baking for the Climate!

We can fight climate change in Wisconsin by rethinking what we grow and eat. Clean Wisconsin partnered with Madison’s Bloom Bake Shop to create some delicious treats made with two new Wisconsin crops that could be game-changers for our environment: Kernza® perennial grain and American hazelnuts.

Corn on farm

The critical role of Wisconsin agriculture in addressing climate change

When you think of Wisconsin, you think of agriculture. Thirty percent of Wisconsin’s land is used for agriculture– that is 64,400 farms on 14.3 million acres. Wisconsin agriculture contributes 16.4% to our state’s economy, $104.8 billion annually. We also export $3.
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State of Change episode 20, Kernza Crunch: Racing to develop the world's first perennial grain crop

Kernza Crunch: Racing to develop the world’s first perennial grain crop

 How often do we think about the food we eat and its impact on climate? A new food product called Kernza® perennial grain is part of a major effort to fight climate change by changing what we plant and eat.
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Wisconsin’s Initiative on Climate Change Impacts

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) is a statewide collaboration of scientists and stakeholders formed as a partnership between UW-Madison’s Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. WICCI’s goals are to evaluate climate change impacts on Wisconsin and foster solutions.

Read the 2021 Assessment Report here.

Urban Green Infrastructure

Green infrastructure practices like building bioswales around parking lots and streets to capture polluted storm runoff, installing rain gardens and green roofs, planting trees, and developing green spaces help reduce the risk of flooding and keep our waterways healthy. But they also capture carbon from the atmosphere through sequestration and help communities become more resilient in the face of worsening severe weather brought by climate change.

Find out more about Clean Wisconsin’s green infrastructure and community engagement program here.

You Can

Get Involved!

Leading With Science

Wisconsin needs science-based policy and cohesive collaboration across  all sectors if we are to leave a healthier legacy for our children and future generations. Clean Wisconsin’s Science Team is analyzing the most effective Natural Climate Solutions for sequestering carbon and other greenhouse gases in Wisconsin.


Farmers need technical assistance to understand and install conservation and regenerative practices, and financial resources to make these investments. Farmers and land managers who improve water quality, safeguard our climate, and protect our natural resources should be compensated for protecting our environment. We must also enact policies that protect valuable natural resources like wetlands, prairies, and forests that are critical to cleaning up our water resources and confronting climate change.

Climate Solutions


Clean Wisconsin supports a doubling of utility funding for Wisconsin's energy efficiency program.
Find out more: Saving Energy and Money

We can’t always see or smell toxic air pollutants in the air we breathe, but their health impacts are very real. Air pollution is responsible for more than 100,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and leads to a host of serious health problems including heart disease, lung cancer, asthma, stroke, low birth weight and premature birth.
Clean Wisconsin has been fighting for clean air for more than 50 years. Our work has had a direct impact on the air quality regulations here in Wisconsin.
Find out more: Clean Air

Transportation is one of the biggest drivers of energy use in Wisconsin, making up about 25% of all carbon emissions in our state. Now is the time to create a transportation system that works for everyone.
Find out more: Clean Transportation

Dependence on oil, coal and methane “natural” gas is pushing us towards a growing climate crisis. At Clean Wisconsin, we know that the transition away from fossil fuels must happen rapidly, and that means working to accelerate shutdowns of existing coal plants while fighting investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure in Wisconsin like gas-fired power plants, oil pipelines, and Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engine (RICE) units.
Find out more: Fossil Fuel Infrastructure