With Nature-based Solutions to Climate Threats, President Obama's Climate Action Plan Holds Promise

6/25/2013

Statement by Conservation International Chief Executive and Chairman Peter Seligmann, on President Obama’s Speech and Climate Action Plan

 
​(Arlington, Virginia, U.S.) -- Conservation International issued the following statement in response to the plan announced today by the President of the United States, Barack Obama, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, strengthen resilience and lead international efforts to address a changing global climate. 
 
 
Peter Seligmann, CEO and Chairman of Conservation International:
 
“President Obama made a strong case for urgent climate action and the imperative for U.S. leadership in his speech today at Georgetown University.  We commend the President for putting the spotlight on this crucial issue.
 
“Working in more than 40 countries across the planet, Conservation International teams have experienced the dramatic and demoralizing impact of radical shifts in precipitation as well as extreme weather events on the security of nations and communities. From the South Pacific to central Tanzania we have witnessed the desperation of people trying to cope with unprecedented rises in sea level as well as the total loss of food crops.  
 
“The President’s Climate Action Plan highlights the importance of land and water conservation measures to reduce the vulnerability of coastal and agricultural communities to extreme weather events.  We have already entered an age of adaptation in which rising sea levels, severe droughts and floods, and devastating storms are forcing us to rethink business as usual. Healthy, intact ecosystems provide cost-effective buffers that can help societies adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.
 
“The President emphasized the importance of private sector leadership, with examples of major companies such as Walmart that have demonstrated how sustainable practices can generate business value while contributing to climate solutions.  Another example of this is the Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020), a public-private effort with ambitious goals to reduce agricultural deforestation by creating markets for sustainably-produced commodities. Conservation International is a new member of TFA 2020 and we hope that U.S. support for this alliance will encourage businesses to adopt responsible commodity sourcing practices and, ultimately, help to mobilize greater private and public financing for climate solutions.
 
“The President’s plan wisely recognizes the vital role of forest conservation to reduce and absorb carbon emissions. The cutting and burning of tropical forests, combined with conversion of land to agricultural uses, accounts for approximately one-third of global greenhouse gas releases to the atmosphere. Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation represents a practical, immediate means to help mitigate climate change and should be a high priority for U.S. investment.
 
“Finally, it is encouraging to see the United States signaling visible leadership and support for international climate action, particularly as progress toward a global climate agreement has stalled.  No nation can solve these challenges alone, and cooperation will be essential.  
 
"In the U.S., a bipartisan approach and expanded public-private alliances are key ingredients for success. Conservation International stands ready to work together with the United States Government and its partners around the world to deliver socially and environmentally-sound solutions that match the scale of the threats. Our economy and national security depend on it as does the well-being of people everywhere."
 
 
 
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For more information, please contact:
 
Patricia Yakabe Malentaqui, Senior Media Manager, Conservation International 
 
Office +1 (703) 341-2471 / pmalentaqui@conservation.org 
 
 
Note to editors:
 
Conservation International - Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature and its global biodiversity to promote the long-term well-being of people. Founded in 1987, CI is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. CI employs more than 800 staff in nearly 20+ countries on four continents and works with more than 1,000 partners around the world. For more information, please see www.conservation.org or visit us on Facebook and Twitter.​​​