Working with Nature to Advance California’s Climate Goals
By: Amanda Vockerodt Hansen, Deputy Secretary for Climate Resilience
It is truly an exciting time to be advancing climate action in California. As the Natural Resources Agency’s Deputy Secretary for Climate Change, much of my work is focused on how to accelerate and scale climate-smart management across California’s vast natural and working lands.
Improving management of California’s lands— from parks and wilderness areas to farms, ranches and commercial forests—is a key piece of combatting climate change and building resilience to its impacts. This is part of our work to deploy “nature-based solutions” to climate change, which describe actions that work with and enhance nature to help address societal challenges.
Here are a few of my favorite things about this work:
- Many nature-based climate solutions can simultaneously support our climate mitigation and adaptation goals. For example, our forest investments will both reduce the risks of catastrophic wildfire and restore forests’ role as a carbon sink rather than source.
- Investments in this sector deliver on other critical priorities, such as protecting our food and water security, improving public health and safety, creating economic prosperity, and expanding access to nature. The reasons Californians value healthy lands are as diverse and important as the outcomes those lands can deliver.
- Californians are excited about the potential to scale climate action in this sector. In our many months of public engagement, we heard common themes from partners across the state – we need to think big about how education, technical assistance, and workforce development can mobilize the implementation required to deliver credible, meaningful climate outcomes.
Governor Newsom and the Legislature just passed a budget that invests in nature more than any other general fund commitment in California history. These investments will accelerate climate smart management of California’s vast natural and working lands. It is proof positive of how serious state leaders are about accelerating nature-based climate solutions in California.
And we are close to finalizing a strategy to guide these investments. Earlier this month, we released a draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy for public input. It is intended to guide and accelerate near- and long-term climate action across key California landscapes, and respond to the Governor’s nature-based solutions Executive Order N-82-20.
This draft was developed in partnership and with input from over 4,000 Californians across the state through regional workshops, online questionnaires, formal tribal consultations, and expert recommendations. We want to thank everyone for generously sharing their expertise, experience, and vision for success in shaping the draft strategy. The public comment period ends on November 9, and we welcome your input! Explore the strategy and learn how to submit a comment on our Expanding Nature-Based Solutions webpage.