Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Second growth redwood trees are seen in a grove at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, California, on April 29, 2020. Save the Redwoods League is now focusing on preserving and restoring forests that have been clearcut in the past 100 or so years, after studies showed these forests sequester more carbon, faster than any other forest in the world. (Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Second growth redwood trees are seen in a grove at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, California, on April 29, 2020. (Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Climate Group Calls Biden's Earth Day Order for Old-Growth Forests 'Grossly Inadequate'

"Protecting forests without addressing the root cause of the climate crisis," warned a Food & Water Watch campaigner, "will do very little to slow global warming."

Jessica Corbett

U.S. President Joe Biden's reported plan to protect old-growth forests—which help combat global temperature rise by storing planet-heating carbon—is "grossly inadequate," one climate advocacy group said Thursday.

"President Biden seems to think we're celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970."

Biden will mark Earth Day in Seattle on Friday with an executive order on the issue, according to The Washington Post, which cited five unnamed sources briefed on the plan.

Responding in a statement, Food & Water Watch national organizing manager Thomas Meyer declared that "President Biden seems to think we're celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970, rather than in [the] depths of the climate crisis in 2022."

"Protecting forests without addressing the root cause of the climate crisis, namely the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels, will do very little to slow global warming," he warned.

"The president has many effective tools at his disposal to address the climate and public health impacts of fossil fuels in a serious way," Meyer added. "He should start by following through on his pledge to end fracking on public lands and stop offshore drilling, and directing his agencies to reject all new fossil fuel infrastructure."

The forthcoming order will direct the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to "define and inventory mature and old-growth forests nationwide within a year," as well as "identify threats to these trees, such as wildfire and climate change, and to use that information to craft policies that protect them," the Post reported.

As the newspaper detailed:

The president's order, however, will not ban logging of mature and old-growth trees, they added, and the administration is not considering a nationwide prohibition.

It will include initiatives aimed at restoring U.S. forests ravaged by wildfire, drought and insects, requiring federal agencies to come up with a reforestation goal by 2030. It will also address major problems facing tree planting efforts in the West—insufficient seeds and seedlings—by directing agencies to develop plans to increase cone and seed collection and nursery capacity.

Other pieces of the order are aimed at curbing deforestation overseas, promoting economic development in regions with major timber industries, and calculating the economic value of other natural resources such as wetlands.

WildEarth Guardians, in a tweet Thursday, highlighted that the order reportedly does not ban logging and urged Americans to pressure the administration on that front.

In February, more than 70 groups including Environment America launched the Climate Forests Campaign to push Biden to take executive action on protections for mature trees and forests on federal lands.

"We need to protect more of our forests across the globe to fend off the impending biodiversity and climate crises," said Ellen Montgomery, Environment America's Public Lands Campaign director, at the time.

"This campaign calls for the Biden administration to take the first step toward meaningful safeguards for forests in the U.S.—by protecting the most important standing trees in those forests," she added. "We can no longer allow our forests to be logged to the detriment of biodiversity and the climate crisis. It's time to adopt a new policy: Let these trees grow."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

'She Can Win If We Stand With Her': Sanders to Rally for Cisneros in Texas

"Her opponent, one of the very few anti-choice Democrats in Congress, is funded by over a million dollars in corporate contributions from Big Oil companies," said Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Peace Advocates Sound Warnings as Progressive Lawmakers Go All-In for $40 Billion Ukraine War Package

"Russia's invasion of Ukraine must be condemned," says one activist. "But the administration has been telegraphing for weeks that its war aims now go well beyond defending Ukraine."

Brett Wilkins ·


Oklahoma Lawmakers Pass Strictest US Abortion Ban While Roe Still Stands

Reproductive rights supporters vowed to fight against the ban that begins at fertilization and, like legislation in Texas, "creates a bounty-hunting scheme" for enforcement.

Jessica Corbett ·


Judy Blume, Mo Willems Among 1,300 Children's Authors to Condemn 'Wave of Book Suppression'

"Reading stories that reflect the diversity of our world builds empathy and respect for everyone's humanity."

Kenny Stancil ·


Now Do Windfall Tax, Say Climate Groups After Passage of Big Oil Price Gouging Bill

"Voters will reward politicians who stand up for people, not polluters," said one campaigner, "and taxing windfall profits is wildly popular in every part of the country."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo