The following statement was issued today by the Wildlife Conservation Society in response to the Biden-Harris Administration’s Executive Orders to address the global climate crisis, protect the environment, and place science at the center of these solutions:
Said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper:
“We welcome the Executive Orders signed today by the Biden-Harris Administration to strengthen science-based leadership, address the world’s climate crisis and protect the environment. The United States is taking sweeping actions that will help us build a carbon-neutral and nature-positive future.
“We need to restore our relationship with nature. Species are dying out, forests are burning, storms are more intense, zoonotic disease spillovers like COVID-19 are more frequent.
“Today’s announcement and Executive Orders send a clear signal that the U.S. government is committed to countering the climate crisis and addressing the associated national security and biodiversity issues. The actions outlined, including a White House Leaders’ Climate Summit, a National Intelligence Estimate, and development of an ambitious nationally determined contribution and climate finance plan, are important first steps.
“At WCS, we particularly applaud the commitment by the Administration to conserve at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030 with local stakeholder engagement. At the recent One Planet Summit, a coalition of more than 50 countries supported this 30×30 policy. As the United States embraces this goal, we encourage the Administration to support a global commitment under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and provide support for countries making similar commitments. We strongly advocate support for advancing conservation nature-based solutions for the climate crisis, one of the most powerful and cost-effective solutions. Nature-based solutions include such actions as preserving the planet’s remaining intact forests, or protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems.
“Further, WCS commends the Administration for initiating a pause on new oil and gas leases on public lands and offshore waters and initiating a review of existing leases and permitting practices. Places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are of critical importance and should be protected for future generations.
“WCS celebrates today’s clear mandate to restore scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking.
“The United States is reengaging in advancing environmental and conservation solutions as the world faces existential crises all caused by humankind: the loss of biodiversity, climate change, and the threat of pandemic disease. These crises are inter-related with many of the same causes and solutions. We will actively work with all parties and countries to save our planet.”