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Let’s harness the proven benefits of regenerative agriculture for a climate-safe future

Many California lawmakers understand the connection between energy use and the climate crisis. However, they are much less familiar with the vast potential for carbon sequestration in our soils. Healthy soils are a critical component of achieving the urgent goals of net-negative emissions by 2030 (drawdown of emissions already in the atmosphere greater than new greenhouse gas emissions) and increased resilience to climate-driven extremes like drought, heat, and floods.

Sequestration in soil represents up to 25% of the total global potential for absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. In California, rangelands cover about 56 million acres, half of the state’s overall land area, and according to recent research, could be a less vulnerable carbon storage option than fire-prone forests.

Regenerative ranching is a key component of this approach and provides multiple benefits to human communities, wildlife, ecosystems, and the climate.

Regenerative ranching can cost-effectively reduce fire-prone vegetation while also helping to build soil organic matter, reduce soil compaction, and improve land fertility. It can also improve healthy water cycle functioning and support beneficial populations of native plants, songbirds, pollinators, and other wildlife.

Progressive grazing practices can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and transform it into productive carbon in the soil. Improved management on grazing and croplands can offset 14% or more of current annual global CO2 emissions. Managed grazing and silvopasture (integrating trees, pasture, and forage) are recognized by Project Drawdown as among the top 20 most effective solutions to climate change.

According to a recent poll, ranchers using regenerative practices reported improved resilience to extremes, operational profits, and personal well-being.

While California lawmakers have already launched a suite of innovative climate-smart agriculture programs for farmers and ranchers, we urge them to build on these programs to sequester an additional 100+ million metric tons (MMT) of carbon dioxide equivalents annually by 2030. But we must start soon.

Accelerating sequestration is critical to achieving drawdown greater than emissions by 2030 for a climate-safe future. We know today how to manage natural and agricultural lands for sequestration through proven carbon farming practices.

With climate impacts rapidly worsening, the time is now to dramatically increase investments in regenerative agriculture and healthy soils!

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Many thanks to Wendy Millet of TomKat Ranch for providing some of the content and inspiration for this week’s e-mail content. 

Please endorse Climate-Safe California and support our work today for a vibrant, healthy future for all.

Earth Day 2030: California celebrates reaching net-negative emissions

Let’s imagine it is April 2030. In the early 2020s, as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world, we in California finally addressed the climate crisis at the speed and scale science demanded.

Nation & World Collaborating for Speed & Scale Climate Action

Today, Earth Day 2030, we celebrate the deep systemic changes we have collectively made for a healthy, equitable, and climate-safe future. We reflect back on an exceptional ten years of climate action.

The decade began with a nightmare, COVID-19, which woke us up to the deadly consequences of ignoring science. We quickly realized that we must heed the warning of climate experts and take immediate, bold action to avert climate catastrophe.

It took an exponentially growing body of diverse advocates (like you!) putting pressure on policymakers to create bold change in line with the science. COVID-19 showed us how quickly and dramatically we could change government policies, unleash market forces, and create opportunities for everyone to participate in a climate-safe economy.

Today we look back on our many achievements, including:

  • California accelerated the phase-out of fossil fuel development, production, and use. 

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s is showing enormous benefits for health, the environment and the economy as the state halted all new investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and began rapidly phasing-out fossil fuel-powered cars, trucks, buses, trains, and equipment.

We dramatically increased investments in public transportation, housing near jobs, and innovative programs that reduced toxic air pollution, especially for frontline communities.

The state also enacted zero-emissions building codes and began phasing out methane gas. We are grateful to the workers whose livelihoods were dependent on fossil fuel industries for making this rapid transition to a 100% GHG-free, clean energy economy possible.

Ranchers, farmers, and public resource managers were incentivized to implement climate-friendly habitat and soil protection and restoration programs on millions of acres from the Sierras to the sea.

Farmers led the way in reducing emissions while supporting food and water security with climate-friendly, regenerative production.

  • Unavoidable damage from extreme climate events meant that California became heavily invested in community resilience and protecting the most vulnerable, lower-income communities.

Legislation enacted in the early 2020s funded and supported California’s counties and cities to develop and implement clean, local, decentralized, resilient energy and storage, building independent capacity to address climate and other emergencies.

Major new state programs funded and supported local climate emergency response and preparedness measures, including early warning systems, resilience centers, and public education programs that are now benefitting all Californians.

  • California created new financing mechanisms, from frequent flyer fees and carbon taxes to private sector investments, that generated the billions of dollars needed annually for speed and scale climate solutions.

Millions of people took action to bring about the changes in policy that accelerated our transition.

On this Earth Day 2030, we commit to continuing our efforts to secure a healthy, vibrant, and equitable future for all.

We can achieve this vision if we act today based on the latest science. Support The Climate Center and help make Climate-Safe California a reality. Make every day Earth Day!