30 x 30 Power In Nature: Protecting California Together

Power in Nature Coalition Responds to Governor Newsom’s Revised Budget, Calls for Climate Bond

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 16, 2024

Contact: Sarah Hersh-Walker, sarah@fcpcommunications.com, 510-759-2921

POWER IN NATURE COALITION RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR NEWSOM’S REVISED BUDGET, CALLS FOR CLIMATE BOND

Sacramento, CA — The Power In Nature Coalition today responded to Governor Newsom’s revised 2024-2025 budget by calling attention to the need for continued investment in programs that build climate resilience and address the biodiversity crisis. These investments are essential in order for the State of California to reach its goal of protecting 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030 (30×30).

“These deep cuts threaten our state’s goal to achieve 30×30,” said Eamon O’Byrne, Executive Director, Sonoma Land Trust. “They also underscore the need for the state to pass a climate resilience bond in 2024. Scientists worldwide agree that we must protect a minimum of 30% of the planet’s lands and coastal waters by 2030. This is actually the bare minimum needed to prevent ecosystem collapse, protect biodiversity, and stabilize our climate. In order to reach this goal in California, we need sustained funding for local 30×30 projects.” 

The Governor’s revised budget proposal cuts nearly half a billion dollars of nature-based climate solution funding. The biggest reduction from the proposal would end the Habitat Conservation Fund this year, which provides $30 million annually to 30×30 projects. The Habitat Conservation Fund was created in 1990 with the passage of Proposition 117. The Fund was set to sunset in 2030, but the Governor is proposing to end the commitment to provide general fund money to the Habitat Conservation Fund early and deprive the 30×30 initiative of at least $165 million over six years. The Legislature has rejected past efforts to gut funding from the Habitat Conservation Fund because this fund is widely supported and would require a ⅘ vote by the Legislature to approve this proposal. 

Between the reductions proposed in January by the Governor and the newest proposed reductions in the May Revision, the Governor’s proposed budget reduces funding for nature-based solutions by $1.62 billion with the largest reductions directed at the Wildlife Conservation Board ($497.4 million) and the State Coastal Conservancy ($392 million).   

“The Governor’s revised budget has alarming implications for programs that help ensure California streams and lakes remain clean and healthy,” said Sam Davidson, Public Lands Policy Director for Trout Unlimited in California. “Reducing or zeroing out funding for protecting and restoring freshwater sources and habitats undercuts the State’s climate goals and is a major step backward in securing drinking water supplies, supporting local communities dependent on freshwater-based economic drivers such as fishing and outdoor recreation, and protecting and recovering biodiversity, including salmon and other freshwater fishes.”

Given the state’s bleak fiscal outlook and the growing climate threat, a November 2024 climate bond that invests in both communities and nature is essential. Last year more than 60 organizations within the Power In Nature Coalition sent a letter to the Newsom Administration urging that a final climate bond include $5 billion for 30×30 outcomes. 

Californians continue to face worsening impacts of the climate crisis, including record-breaking heat, extreme wildfire, drought, and historic flooding. Moreover, California is the most biodiverse state in the nation–one of 36 global “biodiversity hotspots”–facing severe risk to native species. Research shows that 1 million species are at risk of extinction and wild vertebrate populations have dropped 69% since 1970. 

Governor Newsom recognized the urgency of the intertwined climate and biodiversity crises and in 2020 issued Executive Order N-82-20. This Executive Order set the state’s 30×30 target and was codified into law by Senator David Min’s (SD-37) bill SB 337 last year.

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About the Power In Nature Coalition

Power In Nature is a statewide coalition of over 100 community groups, environmental and conservation organizations, land trusts, indigenous organizations and tribal members dedicated to advancing California’s 30×30 commitment. The Power In Nature coalition has identified nearly 100 potential 30×30 projects across the state and works on a broad range of issues including biodiversity protection, climate resilience, equity, recreation, outdoor access and social justice. For more information visit PowerInNature.org.

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