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California Adopts Nation’s First Comprehensive Climate Program

Historic move creates a strategic role for forests and nature in the battle against climate change

Sacramento, California | December 16, 2010

Today the California Air Resources Board took a monumental step towards implementing the state’s landmark global warming solutions act, AB 32, by adopting a California-wide cap and trade program. The Nature Conservancy applauds the Board for this achievement. The cap and trade program is a key tool in a portfolio of strategies that will collectively reduce California’s emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. This program also makes significant strides towards recognizing the central role forests must play in addressing global warming.

Forest loss is a leading source of emissions globally and locally; we cannot solve the climate change crisis without addressing all major sources of emissions,” said Louis Blumberg, director of climate change for The Nature Conservancy in California. “In addition, standing forests absorb nearly 20 percent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions, significantly slowing the rate of global warming.

Today’s action will prove good for the climate and the economy. California’s cap and trade program creates an important new set of market incentives for forest conservation and sustainable management that are critical to preserving climate benefits as well as clean air, clean water, food and jobs that our forests and other natural resources provide,” said Michelle Passero, senior climate policy analyst for The Nature Conservancy in California. “Implementing AB 32 will encourage major growth in clean energy and green jobs, a segment of our economy that employs 500,000 Californians and is growing tenfold faster than any other job sector in California. It will also help to preserve our natural resources which are the very foundation of our health and prosperity.”

“At a time of critical need for decisive action to address climate change, California’s tremendous leadership is also creating impetus at the federal and international levels,” added Blumberg. “Today’s announcement creates a model for local and global communities to protect and restore the critical climate benefits that our natural lands provide.”

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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Vanessa Martin

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