Today, on Earth Day, President Biden signed an Executive Order to expand his Administration’s efforts to attack the climate crisis. This will make the US more resilient to extreme weather and strengthen local economies. The President signed the Executive Order in Seattle, Washington, completing a trip across the West focused on lowering costs for families and protecting communities from intensifying climate impacts.
It is indisputable that wildfires and extreme weather events are growing in frequency and ferocity, engulfing communities in the West and across the country. In spite of the obstructionism to change by those funded by the fossil fuel industry, this is demonstrably costing lives, destroying homes, and creating a ruinous economic climate. Biden reaffirmed his calls on Congress to address the climate crisis.
America’s forests are a vital climate solution, absorbing carbon dioxide equivalent to more than 10% of U.S. annual greenhouse gas emissions. Federal lands contain many of the nation’s mature and old-growth forests, which serve as critical carbon sinks, as well as beloved landscapes, and unique habitats.
In spite of the climate change denial by many of our politicians, these magnificent ecosystems are threatened by the climate impacts that are already here. This demands prompt action to protect our forests and the economies that depend on them. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides historic wildfire resilience funding and calls for prioritizing the restoration of old-growth forests.
Building on this directive and the Administration’s commitment to climate-smart forest stewardship, today’s Executive Order will:
- Safeguard mature and old-growth forests on federal lands, as part of a science-based approach to reduce wildfire risk.
- Strengthen reforestation partnerships across the country to support local economies and ensure we retain forest ecosystems and sustainable supplies of forest products for years to come.
- Combat global deforestation to deliver on key COP26 commitments.
- Enlist nature to address the climate crisis with comprehensive efforts to deploy nature-based solutions that reduce emissions and build resilience.
- President Biden has committed to help deliver on global goals to end natural forest loss by 2030, while restoring at least an additional 200 million hectares of forests and other ecosystems.
At the COP26 international climate conference, President Biden announced the “Plan to Conserve Global Forests: Critical Carbon Sinks” – using U.S. diplomatic, policy, and financing tools, in collaboration with other countries, Indigenous and local forest communities, the private sector, and civil society, and with a focus on three critical areas of global importance: the Amazon, Congo, and Southeast Asian forests.
First US National Nature Assessment
The United States lacks comprehensive knowledge of the state of our lands, waters, wildlife and the actual benefits that they provide. To create this comprehensive picture, the 13-agency US Global Change Research Program will develop the first-ever assessment of the condition of nature within the United States. The assessment will also allow a look ahead at how nature might change in the future and identify opportunities for investments in nature to help achieve our climate, health, environmental justice, and economic goals.