Gov. Gavin Newsom prepares to sing the executive order covering state lands and waters. Courtesy of the governor’s office

Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for the conservation of 30% of California lands and waters by 2030 to protect unique species and preserve ecosystems in an executive order that Republican leaders quickly labeled “overreach.”

Newsom’s decree 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 to slow climate change.

“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 Wednesday at a walnut orchard in Winters. “This is a critical part of the climate change conversation and it so often is omitted when we talk about climate change.”

But state Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove of Bakersfield said the executive order shows Newsom thinks “he no longer needs the California state Legislature.”

“This overreach is beyond the emergency powers given to Gov. Newsom in the state constitution,” said Grove. “There are three branches of government, and we expect Gov. Newsom to respect our authority and process to adequately review, analyze, and vote on legislation. We are a body of 120 state representatives, not a rule of one.”

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

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.

“The Governor’s decree bypassed the legislative process once again, just as he did recently with his order to ban new gas-powered vehicles by 2035,” said state Sen. Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.