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Environment

California governor says state will conserve 30% of lands and waters by 2030

FILE PHOTO: California's Governor Gavin Newsom speaks to the media after casting his vote at a voting center at The California Museum for the presidential primaries on Super Tuesday in Sacramento, CA, U.S., March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Gabriela Bhaskar

(Reuters) - California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday called for the conservation of 30% of state lands and waters by 2030 to protect unique species and preserve ecosystems that are key to fighting climate change.

Newsom’s executive order also directs state agencies to craft policies to boost carbon sequestration on state lands so it can be removed from the atmosphere and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The state’s latest move to address the impacts of a warming planet comes as Newsom has declared in recent weeks that the state must step up its already aggressive efforts on climate amid a record wildfire season.

“Climate change is not just about greenhouse gas emissions emanating from tailpipes of vehicles, but it’s the opportunity to sequester in our soils,” Newsom said at a news conference held at a walnut orchard in Winters, California. “This is a critical part of the climate change conversation and it so often is omitted when we talk about climate change.”

California’s conservation goal is aligned with a United Nations push for governments to collectively set aside 30% of the planet’s land and sea areas.

The announcement comes on the heels of last month’s plan by Newsom to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger cars and trucks in the state starting in 2035.

Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing by Leslie Adler and Marguerita Choy

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