California will dedicate 30% of its land to conservation by 2030, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a Wednesday press conference.
Newsom said the executive order codifies efforts already underway "to preserve and protect over 30% of the state's land," extending out to the state's coastal waters. The goal of the executive order is to preserve biodiversity and prevent ecosystem destruction, he said.
The executive order directs state agencies to "maximize the full climate benefits of our natural and working land" by:
- Maintaining healthy soil
- Restoring wetlands
- Managing forests to reduce fire risk
- Creating more parks and green areas in urban environments
California will be the first state in the nation to do this type of land and coastal conservation, Newsom said.
"This is a critical part of the climate change conversation and it's so often omitted," said Newsom. "When we talk about climate change, we get so consumed by energy and industry, commercial and residential side of this equation, and we forget our working lands.
"We forget our natural lands. We forget about species and we forget about animals, and plants, and insects. All of these things that truly make life not only worth living, but life even capable of living."
The governor was at an orchard in Solano County for his press conference.
Last month Newsom announced California will be phasing out all gasoline-powered cars by 2035 in a major effort to reduce the state's emissions. The governor signed an executive order that requires all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles by the 2035 deadline.
The executive order will not make it illegal for Californians to own gas-powered vehicles or to resell them as used cars.
"I don't know of any other state in this country that's been more forceful and forthright in establishing and anchoring a consciousness around climate change," said Gov. Newsom. "We just want to fundamentally reconcile the fact we're no longer living in 19th century, and we don't need to drill things or extract things in order to advance our economic goals and advance our mobility needs."
The California Air Resources Board will also be working on regulations that will mandate medium and heavy-duty vehicles also have zero emissions (wherever possible) by 2045.