The proposal spells out the details of a central component of the climate plan released by Bennet, a 2020 presidential candidate.
Bennet said using the planet’s ecosystems to trap carbon was one of the lowest-cost ways to address some of the most harmful pollution to the planet.
“We must capitalize on the role of our ecosystems to decrease carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of heat, drought, flood, and fire caused by climate change in a way that empowers the farmers, ranchers, and foresters working our lands,” he wrote when he released the plan in May.
Though roughly 30 percent of the U.S. is set aside as federal lands, a status that allows for energy production, logging and other development, the resolution says just 12 percent of U.S. lands are permanently protected.
The resolution cites recent reports that show how species are being affected by a changing climate, including research showing the U.S. and Canada have lost 3 billion birds over the last 50 years and that 1 million species face extinction.
“Nature – like climate change – is reaching a tipping point,” Udall said in a release. “Many ecosystems and wildlife species are nearing the point of no return. Protecting and restoring 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030, with more protected in the decades following, is a necessary step to stem the collapse of our natural systems.”
Other 2020 candidates have also focused on conservation in their climate plans. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the first candidate to announce a public lands policy, including blocking oil development on public lands. Many candidates have since said they would not allow for new drilling on public lands.