As President Joe Biden took office yesterday, his administration announced a series of steps aimed at combating the climate crisis and protecting wildlife from extinction. These include reentering the Paris Climate Agreement, cancelling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and imposing a moratorium on oil leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
President Biden is also launching a broad review of the Trump administration’s policies, including why the administration stripped protection for birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, their move to undo Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, and the administration’s failure to protect monarch butterflies.
“From Paris to Keystone to protecting gray wolves, these huge first moves from President Biden show he’s serious about stopping the climate and extinction crises,” said Kierán Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “These strong steps must be the start of a furious race to avert catastrophe,” continued Suckling.
President Biden has the power to take other major executive actions to ward off climate catastrophe and the extinction crisis, even if Congress is slow to move. In December, the Center released transition recommendations detailing key actions the incoming Biden administration can take to combat climate change, safeguard the environment, and protect wildlife.
More than 500 conservation, environmental justice, youth, health, faith, and labor groups have called for the declaration of a national climate emergency. The groups’ Climate President Action Plan calls for the use of existing executive powers to take bold and foundational steps on climate, including an immediate halt to new fossil fuel leases, infrastructure, and exports.
Ending the global wildlife extinction crisis will require bold leadership from the United States, including protecting 30% of America’s wildlands and waters by 2030, and half of them by 2050.
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