Our People

Michelle Passero

Climate Change Program Director

Sacramento, CA

Michelle Passero Headshot.

Michelle Passero Director of TNC’s Climate Change Program in California © TNC

Area of Expertise

Climate mitigation & adaptation, GHG accounting, land use & climate change, natural resource law

Media Contact

Juvenio Guerra
ph. 310-755-0590


Michelle Passero is the Director of TNC’s Climate Change Program in California. She has over 20 years of experience working in land conservation, environmental law and policy with particular expertise in natural resources and climate change. Currently, Ms. Passero is leading the Conservancy’s climate policy efforts to establish a comprehensive role for natural and working lands in support of California’s climate goals.   

She has co-authored multiple publications supporting the role of nature-based climate strategies to address climate change. Recent publications include: Nature-based Climate Solutions: A Roadmap to Accelerate Climate Action in California and Resilient Merced: A County Guide to Advance Climate Mitigation and Complementary Benefits through Land Management and Conservation.

Michelle serves as an expert advisor to multiple initiatives, including the California Department of Insurance Climate Insurance Working Group, the California Office of Planning and Research Integrated Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Program and The Bay Area Council California Resilience Challenge. She holds an LL.M. in Sustainable International Development from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of San Francisco. 

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California Can’t Wait | Support AB 284 & AB 1395

August 12, 2021

Nearly every day of the year, communities across California and the Nation are faced with the devastating impacts of climate change — megafires, floods, extreme heat, intensified drought and sea level rise.  The most recent global report on the state of our climate released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this week “signaled a code red for humanity”, reminding us once again of the urgent need to take even greater action in the fight against climate change. The truth is, California can’t wait a moment longer. We must accelerate actions to address climate change - as we have more to lose with the sixth largest economy and more diverse landscapes than any other State.

The California legislature has a significant global leadership opportunity to respond to this climate call to action through the passage of two climate resilience bills next week — AB 284 (Rivas) and AB 1395 (Muratsuchi). Collectively, these bills would expedite California’s efforts to address climate change and focus attention on protecting California’s natural and working lands. These complementary bills would increase our state's ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the economy.

Without proper management, California’s natural and working lands are at risk of becoming an increasing net source of greenhouse gas emissions. However, through active interventions like restoration, changes in management and conservation, we can reduce this risk and chart a different course so that our lands act as healthy sinks of carbon dioxide and provide other critical public benefits.

The Nature Conservancy urges the California Legislature and Governor Newsom to keep California at the vanguard of climate action and adopt AB 284 and AB 1395 as California’s decisive next steps to combat climate change.