Defenders of Wildlife Applauds Senate Introduction of Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act
Whitehouse-Boxer Bill Calls for a Coordinated National Strategy to Protect Wildlife from the Threat of Global Warming
WASHINGTON – Defenders of Wildlife today hailed the introduction in the Senate of the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act, a bill calling for a national strategy to safeguard wildlife and habitat impacted by global warming.
The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) with Environmental and Public Works Chair Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) joining him as a co-sponsor. In August, the House of Representatives passed the Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act as part of a larger energy bill (H.R. 3221).
"I commend Sen. Whitehouse and Sen. Boxer for tackling head on the looming threat to wildlife of global warming, and I urge all Senators to follow their lead and support this bill," said Defenders of Wildlife President, Rodger Schlickeisen. "We understand that it is the Senators' intention to present this bill to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, with the goal of incorporating this vital act into wider global warming legislation being considered this fall. The House has already delivered on this vital issue, and I hope the Senate will approach it with equal foresight."
In September, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report which concluded that federal government agencies, including those involved with protecting wildlife and public lands, “have not made climate change a priority." The Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act would help to address this by offering clear direction to those agencies.
The Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act has four main elements:
- A declaration of national policy committing the federal government, in cooperation with state, tribal and local governments and other concerned organizations, to use all practicable means to assist wildlife in adapting to and surviving the effects of global warming.
- A national strategy for assisting wildlife impacted by global warming developed by the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce, states, tribes, local governments, conservation organizations and scientists, and coordinated with existing wildlife conservation plans. The national strategy identifies specific goals and methods to protect, acquire and restore wildlife habitat in order to build resilience to global warming, and provide habitat linkages to facilitate wildlife movements in response to global warming. The National Strategy would also protect natural communities most vulnerable to global warming, and restore and protect ecological processes that sustain wildlife populations.
- Improved science capacity for federal agencies to respond to global warming, including a National Global Warming and Wildlife Science Center in the U.S. Geological Survey and enhanced science capacity in federal land management and wildlife agencies.
- Federal funding for implementation of the national strategy and state and tribal actions to enhance wildlife resilience to global warming. The bill allocates federal funding to federal land management agencies, and federally funded and implemented fish and wildlife programs. It would also provide funding to states and tribes for programs and actions to address the impacts of global warming on wildlife pursuant to state wildlife action plans.
The Global Warming Wildlife Survival Act complements efforts now underway in Congress to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which is essential to combating and ultimately halting global warming and the threat it poses to wildlife.
"Even with the adoption of these measures, wildlife will continue to feel the effects of global warming over the coming decades because of the greenhouse gas pollution already released into the atmosphere," said Schlickeisen. "This bill gives federal, state and local resources managers the tools they need to help wildlife survive these impacts until wildlife reaps the benefits from greenhouse gas pollution reductions."
For more information, go to www.defenders.org/wildlifesurvivalact.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.