The following statement was issued today by the Wildlife Conservation Society on the eve of Earth Day 2021 and the Biden-Harris Leaders Summit on Climate, April 22 and 23.

Said Cristián Samper, WCS President and CEO:

“Our planet faces three urgent global crises – climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and zoonotic pandemics. This Earth Day, world leaders must scale up ambition and commit to transformative solutions to address these inter-related assaults on nature. We can’t continue to seek siloed policy solutions for these global crises as they are inextricably linked. They share a root cause: humanity’s degradation of nature.

“We congratulate the Biden-Harris Administration for convening the Leaders Summit on Climate over the next two days, and we are encouraged by steps taken to address climate change by governments, private companies and civil society. The leadership of the United States will be crucial to increase ambition and cooperation leading to the United Nations conferences on biodiversity and climate later this year. We call on all countries:

  • To recognize the interlinkage between climate, biodiversity and health, and support the use of nature-based solutions to climate and a One Health approach to help prevent future pandemics.
  • To commit to ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement; including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030 and striving to achieve net-zero emission by 2050.
  • To increase financial commitments to help developing countries meet their climate and biodiversity goals.
  • To support the protection of 30% of terrestrial and marine ecosystems by 2030, and to reduce the loss of high integrity ecosystems.

“As world leaders convene virtually this week for the US summit, we look forward to bold commitments from all the nations to address these existential crises threatening all life on Earth.

“I am hopeful that on upcoming Earth Days we will celebrate our collective efforts at building a carbon neutral and nature positive future.”