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California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new program to use “more than half of its land to fight the climate crisis.” The program includes 81 targets for nature-based solutions intended to help California achieve its world-leading climate goals, including reaching carbon neutrality by 2045 through land management efforts that include:

  • 33.5 million acres managed to reduce wildfire risk, mostly through beneficial fire
  • 11.9 million acres of forest managed for biodiversity protection, carbon storage, and water supply protection
  • 7.6 million acres conserved with protections
  • 3.4 million acres of croplands managed to boost healthy soils, drought resilience, and below-ground biodiversity
  • 4.2 million trees planted to protect California communities from the climate crisis, remove carbon and increase access to nature where it’s needed most
  • 2.7 million acres of shrublands and chaparral managed for carbon storage, resilience, and habitat connectivity
  • 1.6 million acres of grasslands managed to restore native grasslands and protect biodiversity
  • 1.5 million acres of sparsely vegetated lands (deserts, beaches, etc.) to protect fragile ecosystems

It is unclear exactly what the state plans to do with the carbon credits expected from the programs – will they will be considered state assets and exclusively applied against emissions generated by governmental operations, or will the state sell any on the open market? My prediction is that both scenarios will end up happening. The revenue opportunity is simply too great a temptation.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile