Governor Announces Ambitious Biodiversity Targets for California

Image by rafael-castillo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Today, Governor Newsom signed an executive order to protect 30 percent of California’s land and ocean by 2030 (30×30). This announcement makes California the first state in the United States to commit to the global 30×30 effort targeted by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The executive order also directs California to elevate the role of natural and working lands conservation in its efforts to combat climate change.

“Resources Legacy Fund congratulates Governor Newsom for taking this bold and necessary step to stem the dual threats of biodiversity loss and climate change. With this announcement, the governor demonstrates that California aims to continue leading on conservation and climate policy,” said Michael Mantell, President, Resources Legacy Fund. “This is an important opportunity for California to work in partnership with all of its communities and Tribes to advance inclusive solutions that protect biodiversity, address climate risk, enhance access to nature, and deliver public health benefits. We look forward to working with diverse stakeholders and the Newsom Administration to implement the 30×30 goal effectively and equitably.”

California has already shown that protection can benefit ecosystems and people. In 2012, for example, California completed the adoption of the nation’s first statewide, science-based network of marine protected areas (MPAs), protecting almost 17 percent of the state’s ocean waters. In less than a decade, research has begun to  show that marine species in and around these MPAs are recovering and thriving. These improvements will have long-term benefits for California’s communities and economy. And on land, California is well on its way to meeting the 30×30 goal.

“Governor Newsom acted today in the interest of young people and future generations, who will benefit from this bold conservation commitment. California’s biodiversity is globally important and it is commendable that California will be an early leader in the effort to safeguard 30 percent of the world’s lands and oceans,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature, a project of RLF that is working to support the international 30×30 effort.

The Campaign for Nature recently commissioned an independent study concluding that investing in the protection of the planet’s land and sea outweigh the costs by at least five to one. If we do not take action to advance ambitious biodiversity protection goals, the cost to economic sectors like fisheries, agriculture, and forestry—on top of costs from increasing flood damage, maintaining a clean water supply, and other climate change impacts—will rise exponentially. According to Enric Sala, co-author of the report, “Investing to protect nature would represent less than one-third of the amount that governments spend on subsidies to activities that destroy nature. It would represent 0.16% of global GDP and require less investment than the world spends on video games every year.”