SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister) introduced Assembly Bill 284: Natural & Working Lands Climate Goal, which ensures that the State incorporates natural and working lands in its strategies and plans to reduce atmospheric carbon and make communities more resilient to climate impacts. The bill, which is sponsored by The Nature Conversancy and California Climate & Agriculture Network, will require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to work in collaboration with relevant State agencies to set an overall climate goal for the State’s natural and working lands to capture carbon, while identifying best practices and policy incentives to achieve that goal.
“California has ambitious environmental goals, and AB 284 will help make those goals a reality,” said Asm. Rivas, who serves as the Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. “This bill will not only help us reduce new emissions of carbon, but it also provides recommendations on how to deliver technical assistance and education to landowners and local governments that facilitate the implementation of carbon sequestration, which is key to our success. The State can set goals and targets all we want, but without meaningful engagement on best practices for landowners, these goals remain unattainable.”
The bill aims to establish a structure of policy incentives, best practices, and technical assistance strategies for the State to use in order to achieve our climate goals. Natural solutions for sequestering or capturing carbon are relatively inexpensive and include land management, restoration of woodlands and wetlands, and modifying soils.
AB 284 compliments and bolsters Executive Order N-82-20, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last October, which requires an interagency working group to establish the California Biodiversity Collaborative to convene stakeholders “to protect and restore the State’s biodiversity.” The executive order calls for establishing a baseline assessment of the State’s biodiversity, conserve at least 30% of California’s land and coastal waters by 2030, and develop and report strategies to the Governor. In EO N-82-20, Governor Newsom enacted the purpose of Asm. Rivas’s AB 2954 of 2020 to set an overall climate goal for the State’s natural and working lands to leverage as tools in the fight against climate change. AB 284 builds off of this executive order and California’s landmark environmental law, AB 32: the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which established a comprehensive program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources in our State. AB 32 requires CARB to develop a Scoping Plan every five years that describes the approach our State will take to reduce greenhouse gasses.