This week, Governor Newsom issued a climate executive order that took essential steps to address tail-pipe emissions. CalCAN joined with other conservation and sustainable agriculture organizations to applaud the action and to call on the Administration to take equally bold action to better include natural and working lands in the state’s climate strategy. You can read our joint statement here.
The lack of attention to natural and working lands climate strategies comes at a challenging time for the state. Wildfires continue to rage, resulting in more than 3.5 million acres burned, with many weeks remaining in the fire season. Many have lost homes and many farms and ranches have burned. To prevent devastating wildfires and improve resilience to greater weather extremes, California will need land-based solutions that improve forest management, increased prescribed grazing, end sprawl development into agricultural lands and open space, and embrace carbon strategies that enhance the health of our working and natural lands.
California has begun that work in agriculture by developing a suite of climate smart agriculture programs. But those programs are at risk of being zeroed out as the source of their funding (the state’s cap-and-trade program) becomes more volatile. Currently, there is no funding for the Healthy Soils Program, Alternative Manure Management Program or SWEEP for the next fiscal year. This comes at a time of huge farmer demand for the technical and financial assistance provided by those programs.
During a time of a pandemic-induced recession, how do we scale up efforts to improve the state’s climate resilience, which necessary for the health and safety of our communities? CalCAN and our partners will be exploring this question this fall and going into the next legislative session. Thank you for your ongoing support for our work.