Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ask Congress to Protect Our Natural World from Climate Change


In the next few weeks, Congress will vote on an energy and climate change legislation called the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. It sets a first ever cap on global warming pollution and helps reduce the impacts of climate change on our communities, our health and our natural resources. This bill is a good first step, but needs to be strengthened.

Ask Congress to defend and strengthen the American Clean Energy and Security Act. Go to http://tinyurl.com/ACESalert

This bill is truly the first time that Congress has contemplated comprehensive legislation to protect wildlife, wild lands and all of the ecosystem services they provide from the threat of climate change. It provides a dedicated stream of funding to specifically help wildlife, fish, plants, and birds on land and in the oceans adapt to climate change. Polluters payments would go directly to funding the conservation programs. And although additional funding will be needed to truly protect wildlife from climate change threats, this is an incredibly important first step.

Safeguarding Species
The House legislation includes a section on initiating and expanding a number of efforts to help reduce the impacts that global warming will have on our communities, our health and our natural resources. Endangered species -and species put at risk of extinction due to global warming - would benefit greatly from these efforts. Basically, these efforts include:

Creating national and local strategies
A wide-range of stakeholder agencies would work together to create a federal plan for protecting or adapting natural resources, including vulnerable wildlife and plants, to the impacts of global warming and ocean acidification. Government agencies and states would then create their own plans that implements their portions of this plan.

Ensuring scientific integrity

Centers within NOAA and USGS would help guide adaptation efforts, coordinate needed research, and be a resource for the scientific and technical needs of addressing the impacts of our changing climate.

Providing resources

The House legislation initially approves spending the equivalent of 1 percent of the potential auction values on natural resources "adaptation" efforts starting in 2012, with the money being used to implement the national and state action plans. This money is distributed across federal agencies, states and tribes. The allocation would bump up to 2 percent in 2022 and then to 4 percent in 2027. It is estimated that this would provide roughly $550 million in 2012 and expand to just over $4 billion by 2030.

Improvements Needed
As Congress continues to debate global warming legislation, the Endangered Species Coalition will be working to protect and strengthen the provisions safeguarding species. Most notably, the need for funding for natural resources adaptation far exceeds what is allocated currently. At a minimum, 5 percent of the value of the total potential auction revenues should be directed to natural resources adaptation. The process used to distribute this funding also needs to ensure that the revenues are dedicated to these purposes and cannot be misdirected elsewhere.

This legislation is a good start, but it needs to be supported and strengthened. Industry lobbyists are trying to weaken the bill, including removing key programs and funding that would protect natural resources from the impacts of climate change.

Please send a letter to your member of Congress today and ask them to defend the natural resource adaption programs and funding.http://tinyurl.com/ACESalert

The next few weeks are critical. We need your help to defend and strengthen the American Clean Energy and Security Act so that it adequately addresses global warming and provides resources to safeguard our nation's wildlife and wild places from the impacts of climate change.

Send a letter today to protect our natural world from climate change.http://tinyurl.com/ACESalert

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