Courtesy of Assemblyman Robert Rivas’ Office:
Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) announced that the Senate’s Appropriations Committee did not advance AB 2954, The Natural and Working Lands Climate Goal. This critical bill—with broad support from cities, land trusts, and climate organizations—would have required the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to collaborate with other relevant state agencies and departments to identify an overall climate goal for California’s natural and working lands. Those areas comprise over 90% of California’s landscape and have the potential to sequester significant amounts of carbon in soils, plants, and trees.
Rivas said, “I am disappointed that this urgently needed legislation to address climate change solutions did not advance out of the Senate Appropriations Committee. We need only look at this week’s extreme heatwave and hundreds of fires to recognize that this issue cannot wait. Using natural and working lands to sequester and capture carbon is a necessary way to meaningfully counter greenhouse gas emissions in this economically challenging time.”
Leading researchers worldwide agree that we must maximize methods to capture carbon with our natural and working lands to fend off the worst impacts of climate change. Best practices for sequestering or capturing carbon are relatively inexpensive and currently available. Those natural solutions include land management, restoration of woodlands and wetlands, and restoring and enriching soils. Said Rivas, “It’s estimated that our natural and working lands have the potential to contribute up to 17% of California’s greenhouse gas reduction goal, as well as providing additional benefits such as improved water and air quality, food production, land conservation, and the prevention of extreme heat and wildfires.”
Rivas concluded, “The extreme heatwave and wildfires make clear that the pandemic has not put a pause on our other crises. I will continue to fight for a safe environment for all residents, including our low-income and disadvantaged communities.”