WASHINGTON— As President Joe Biden takes office today, his administration announced a series of steps aimed at combating the climate crisis and protecting wildlife from extinction. These include reentering the Paris Agreement, cancelling the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and imposing a moratorium on oil leasing activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Biden is also launching a broad review of the Trump administration’s anti-wildlife policies, including Trump’s gutting of Migratory Bird Treaty Act rules, his move to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, and his 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. “These strong steps must be the start of a furious race to avert catastrophe. Reversing Trump’s harmful actions is just the beginning, and we’re increasingly hopeful that our new president is on course to save America’s wildlife, stop approving new fossil fuel projects, and deliver the rapid transition to clean, distributed energy that science and justice demand.”
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.
A Center plan, Saving Life on Earth, also calls for restoring endangered species policies revoked by Trump, ending illegal international wildlife trade, significantly reducing pollution and plastics, controlling invasive species, and renewing American leadership to develop a global strategy to stem the extinction crisis.