WASHINGTON DC, October 15, 2008 – On the day of the third and final presidential debate, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has publicly released its “Greenprint” agenda – a policy roadmap for the next administration to address global threats to environmental, social and political stability in four key areas: climate change, conservation of natural resources, food security and freshwater availability. The WWF Greenprint highlights how these challenges are intertwined, and how they can – and should – be solved by the next President.
“In our conservation work around the world, WWF has long recognized the connection between political stability, regional security and natural resource use,” said Carter Roberts, president and CEO of WWF. “These issues are now taking center stage in the form of climate change, energy independence, and national security.”
Roberts added: “Global consumption of natural resources far exceeds the Earth’s regenerative capacity. We are borrowing from our natural capital at an entirely unsustainable rate. And, as is evidenced from the current economic crisis, unsustainable borrowing is not without profound consequences. To raise the stakes even further, there can be no bailout if the Earth’s systems collapse.”
The WWF Greenprint has been provided to Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and their campaign staffs. It outlines specific policy initiatives that would reduce threats to global peace and security by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and establishing preparedness measures for dealing with the impacts of climate change, ensuring plentiful food and clean water for people around the world, and retooling the U.S. government’s Cold War-era foreign assistance program to ensure more sustainable use of the world’s natural resources.
“Conservation is in America’s long-term strategic interest,” said Bruce Babbitt, chairman of WWF’s Board of Directors and former secretary of the Interior Department in the Clinton Administration. “Responsible and sustainable resource management is critical not just to protecting nature, but to avoiding conflict, alleviating poverty and promoting stability around the world.”
William Reilly, former WWF chairman and current member of WWF’s Board of Directors and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President George H.W. Bush, added: “The next administration will face daunting challenges on all fronts. Climate change is melting the Arctic, fueling deadlier storms, diminishing the availability of food and water, and threatening geopolitical instability on a scale never before witnessed. The WWF Greenprint outlines a clear path for slowing climate change and preparing the world for its impacts.”
The WWF Greenprint, which is available at www.worldwildlife.org/greenprint, is divided into four parts: climate change, food security, freshwater availability and natural resource protection and management. On climate change, it recommends that the next administration play a constructive role in international negotiations on a new climate treaty, curb deforestation which accounts for nearly 20 percent of global annual greenhouse gas emissions, propose domestic legislation to establish a cap and trade program for greenhouse gases and develop a preparedness strategy for confronting the impacts of climate change.
On food security, it recommends the development of performance-based standards for biofuels to ensure fuel supplies don’t diminish food supplies, and it urges an overhaul of management policies to restore the health of the world’s declining fisheries – a primary source of protein for more than 1 billion of the world’s poor. Further, it states that freshwater availability should be a strategic priority for the U.S. and urges the next administration to lay the scientific and policy groundwork for global water security.
To ensure sustainable management of natural resources, the WWF Greenprint states that America’s Cold War-era foreign assistance programs should be restructured to better integrate conservation and sustainability into the framework. It further urges renewed investment in natural assets and a stronger engagement with China, which is rapidly developing at a rate that is stressing the world’s natural resource capacity.
“There is still time to manage our way out of this crisis, but the clock is ticking,” said Roberts. “We need to start now, for decisions deferred today will be far harder and costlier for our children to make tomorrow.”
NOTE TO EDITORS:
For more information and to view the WWF Greenprint online, please visit http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/howwedoit/policy/greenprint.html.
ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
WWF is the world’s largest conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.