Statement from Conservation International CEO on U.S. Rejoining the Paris Agreement

January 20, 2021

Arlington, Va. (Jan. 20, 2021) – Today Dr. M. Sanjayan, Conservation International CEO, released the following statement in recognition of President Joe Biden’s rejoining of the Paris Climate Agreement:

 “When the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, it marked a watershed for the global fight against climate change. We were there, in Paris, alongside governments, businesses and other organizations. The sense of optimism was palpable. Five years later, the Agreement is still our best bet for putting the planet on the right path — though that optimism has given way to desperation. 

“Today the U.S. government will take steps to rejoin the Paris Agreement and step back into a crucial leadership role. It couldn’t have come too soon. President Biden has rightfully called climate change the No. 1 issue facing humanity today. U.S. leadership will be critical in ensuring that negotiations at COP 26, to be held in Glasgow later this year, successfully conclude with action – not just talk.

“During the shameful absence of the U.S. federal government from the Paris Climate Agreement, it was communities, cities, states and leading businesses and brands in the United States that stayed in, stepped up, and gave us a fighting chance of avoiding climate catastrophe. They must now build on and accelerate that momentum — even as U.S. leadership resumes.

“In this critical decade for humanity we do not have a moment to lose. This is no longer just about polar bears — it’s about the air we breathe, the food we eat, the jobs we have. It’s about our national security and our economy.

“As President Biden rightly pointed out during his campaign, the actions we take must include investments in nature. Investing in nature can deliver at least a third of the emissions reductions we need to make by 2030 to avoid climate breakdown. Even if we stopped emitting carbon pollution tomorrow, we would be unable to avoid rapid temperature rise if we don’t stop the destruction of nature. Investing in the restoration and protection of nature, if carefully designed, can reduce and remove climate-warming carbon far faster than current technology — and deliver additional benefits that no technology can, including fresh water, wildlife habitat, livelihoods.

“The window for meaningful action is now very narrow – we have no time to waste. President Biden’s action today is certainly a step in the right direction. Now, businesses, civil society, state and local governments need to align and work together to reduce emissions and invest in nature-based solutions to ensure a livable planet.”


About Conservation International
Conservation International works to protect the critical benefits that nature provides to people. Through science, partnerships and fieldwork, Conservation International is driving innovation and investments in nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, supporting protections for critical habitats, and fostering economic development that is grounded in the conservation of nature. Conservation International works in 30 countries around the world, empowering societies at all levels to create a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable planet. Follow Conservation International's work on Conservation News, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.