The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Erin McCallum, (202)772-3217

New Report Highlights Need to Act Now to Protect Wildlife From Global Warming

Defenders of Wildlife releases "Beyond Cutting Emissions: Protecting Wildlife and Ecosystems in a Warming World."


The new administration of President-elect Barack Obama
heralds a new era for U.S. action to address the threat of global warming, and
the effects that climate change is already having on America's wildlife and
natural places. A report released today by Defenders of Wildlife provides a
roadmap for how the next administration can help America's wildlife and
ecosystems survive the impacts of global warming.

"With new leadership in the White House, we can now tackle head-on the impact
that global warming is having on our wildlife and wildlands," said Robert Dewey,
vice president for government relations at Defenders of Wildlife. "Global
warming is already threatening America's wildlife and natural systems. While
reducing global warming emissions is vital to protecting our communities and
environment, it is not enough."

The report, Beyond Cutting Emissions: Protecting Wildlife and Ecosystems in a
Warming World
, addresses the pressing need to make wildlife and natural
resources more resilient to global warming. Serious damage is already being seen
in our ecosystems and wildlife populations, ranging from melting of polar ice
caps to increased drought and warming of rivers, lakes and streams. The basic
life-sustaining services provided by ecosystems, such as purifying air and water
and pollinating crops, are being compromised, threatening human communities
around the country and the world.

"Any plan to address global warming must include steps to protect the natural
systems that sustain us all," said Dewey, who discussed Defenders' proposals on
a teleconference this morning. "We are confident that with adequate funding,
planning, increased scientific capacity and policy direction we can restore and
safeguard America's wildlife and natural places and secure a healthier

Beyond Cutting Emissions details why a new conservation paradigm - one that
has ecosystem resiliency at its core - is necessary if wildlife, natural
resources and human communities are to survive the changes wrought by a warming

This report includes the following key recommendations:

  • Clear federal policy direction to make addressing global warming's
    impacts a top priority of federal, state and tribal natural resource
    agencies; A coordinated national strategy for addressing this complex
    and cross-cutting challenge; Enhanced scientific capacity to build the
    foundation of knowledge about core ecosystem processes necessary to guide
    effective management actions; and Significant and sustained dedicated
    federal funding to implement the conservation measures necessary to ensure fish,
    wildlife, and natural ecosystems survive the unavoidable impacts of global
    warming, which should be achieved by dedicating a portion of the revenues from a
    climate cap-and-trade system.

"Global warming is the greatest conservation challenge of our time," Dewey
concluded. "We look forward to working with the Obama administration to take
early and swift action to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard wildlife, wild
places and future generations from the threat of global warming. The price of
inaction is too great."

Read Beyond Cutting Emissions: Protecting Wildlife and Ecosystems in a
Warming World.

Listen to an audio recording of today's teleconference, which also covered
other 2009 wildlife priorities.

For more information about Defenders' priorities for the new administration,
read our transition report, Wildlife Conservation Agenda for the Next

Defenders of Wildlife is the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled species and their habitats in North America.

(202) 682-9400