Conservation Groups Applaud Wildlife Measures In Climate Bill

The Lieberman-Warner Bill commits an unprecedented level of funding from the auction of carbon allowances to help wildlife and natural resources survive global warming

12-06-2007 // Christine Dorsey

Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies ** Defenders of Wildlife **
National Wildlife Federation ** The Nature Conservancy ** Trout Unlimited

Contacts:
Christine Dorsey (802) 229-0650, ext. 334, dorsey@nwf.org - NWF
Cat Lazaroff (202) 772-3270--Defenders of Wildlife

Wildlife conservation groups today applauded the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for including comprehensive wildlife adaptation language in the Lieberman-Warner Bill. Global warming is the most significant threat to wildlife and its habitat and the Lieberman-Warner Bill commits an unprecedented level of funding from the auction of carbon allowances to help wildlife and natural resources survive global warming.

This investment would enable federal, state and tribal agencies to protect America's fish and wildlife, our great waters, and other natural resources from the climate changes that can no longer be avoided. The latest data from the Arctic show that the planet's massive polar ice cap may melt decades faster than scientists had anticipated. This warming could result in a mass extinction of species, and severe disruptions of ecosystems, unless aggressive conservation measures are taken.

The wildlife adaptation section of the Lieberman-Warner Bill directs the President to develop a national strategy, based on the recommendations of a Science Advisory Board, to help wildlife and its habitat adapt to the ever-increasing threat of global warming. Similarly, state-level global warming strategies will be developed to guide investments by state fish and wildlife agencies.

Below are statements from each of the conservation groups:

"Global warming poses an unprecedented threat to wildlife, and it requires an unprecedented commitment of financial resources to the conservation of wildlife and natural resources," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "This investment, and the overriding legislation to reduce global warming pollution, is critical if we hope to help wildlife and natural resources survive the climate changes already underway. This is one of the most significant investments we can make to protect our children's future."

Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen said, "This bill marks an important step forward in protecting America's wildlife from the impacts of global warming. Even with rigorous reductions in greenhouse gases, 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. This bill gives federal, state and local resource managers the tools they need to help wildlife survive these impacts until mankind can gain control of our own greenhouse gas pollution."

"We are very appreciative that the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee recognized in its bill the need for assured and dedicated funding to the state and federal natural resources agencies to remediate the effects of climate change on fish, wildlife and their habitats. We laud the leadership of Senator Lieberman and Senator Warner in particular for recognizing the vital role that the state fish and wildlife agencies can and will play in managing for adaptation capacity for fish and wildlife populations, and ensuring the resiliency of habitats to sustain fish and wildlife resources affected by climate change," observed Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

"Lieberman-Warner's comprehensive approach recognizes the importance of addressing all major sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and the role that forest conservation and restoration can play in combating climate change. The bill also clearly recognizes the dramatic impact climate change will have on plants, wildlife and natural areas and the long term importance of conserving, protecting and managing natural systems, such as coastal wetlands, that can buffer and mitigate the effects of climate change. This would be the most significant investment in American conservation in our generation," said Stephanie Meeks, acting President and CEO of the Nature Conservancy.

"Science shows us that there is still time to overcome problems caused by climate change if we act soon and prepare properly," said Steve Moyer, Vice President of Government Affairs for Trout Unlimited. "S. 2191 is the strong medicine needed to cure the scourge of climate change and to help fish and wildlife resources survive its harmful impacts," said Moyer.

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