California Sets Ambitious Targets to Fight Climate Crisis with Nature-Based Solutions

In an unprecedented move, the state of California has unveiled a comprehensive plan to harness the power of nature in combating the climate crisis. Governor Gavin Newsom’s California Climate Commitment has set 81 targets for nature-based solutions, aiming to strategically manage more than half of the state’s land to absorb carbon emissions and achieve carbon neutrality by 2045.

The targets, among the most comprehensive in the world, focus on various aspects of land management, including wildfire risk reduction, forest management for biodiversity protection, conservation, and the promotion of healthy soils in croplands. The plan also calls for the planting of 4.2 million trees to protect communities from the effects of climate change, remove carbon, and increase access to nature where it is needed most.

Governor Newsom emphasized the scale and ambition of the state’s action, stating, “We’re setting aggressive and ambitious new targets to use California’s lands to fight the climate crisis. This scale of action is unprecedented, and yet another example of California punching above its weight.”

The decision to set these targets comes after an analysis in California’s 2022 Scoping Plan, which revealed that the state’s lands currently emit more greenhouse gases than they absorb. This shift from carbon sink to carbon emitter is largely attributed to historic land use decisions, including a disconnection from beneficial land management practices used by California Native American tribes, and the accelerating impacts of climate change.

Since 2020, the Newsom Administration has invested approximately $9.6 billion in nature-based solutions to combat the effects of climate change. Aggressive near-term efforts to increase climate action on California’s lands are expected to put the state on the path to course correction, with the 2022 Scoping Plan setting a numeric goal for California’s lands to contribute as much as possible to achieving carbon neutrality by 2045.

As California takes this bold step in the fight against climate change, the state’s commitment to nature-based solutions serves as an example for other regions to follow. By strategically managing its lands, California aims to not only reduce its carbon footprint but also protect its biodiversity, water supply, and communities from the devastating effects of the climate crisis.


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