WASHINGTON, December 3, 2020 — The Center for Biological Diversity released transition recommendations today detailing key actions the incoming Biden administration can take to address the extinction crisis and climate change without waiting on a divided Congress.
The report starts by recommending that President Biden rescind every single Trump executive order and other unilateral policy enacted by Trump’s political appointees. Then, it says, the administration should enact ambitious new regulations that go further than any presidents have to date, including when Biden was vice president.
“President-elect Biden said his administration wouldn’t just tinker around the edges, but instead would lock in progress no future president can roll back. Our recommendations are a roadmap for doing exactly that,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center. “By declaring that both the climate and extinction crises are true national emergencies and then acting accordingly, we can ensure our planet remains vibrant for generations to come.”
Today’s recommendations cover five key areas: cracking down on corruption and the influence of corporate polluters, addressing the climate crisis, protecting environmental and human health from dangerous chemicals, restoring abundant wildlife populations and strengthening safeguards for public lands.
The recommendations urge the incoming president to declare that both the climate crisis and the extinction crisis are national emergencies under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. That would unlock additional powers for every agency in the executive branch to devote resources to these crises.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is urged to implement a 100% traceability program for all wildlife trade to reduce the risks of another pandemic. The Service should also fully use the Pelly Amendment to impose sanctions on nations that flout international wildlife trade laws.
Recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency include a complete revamp of programs to consider endangered species when setting pollution limits. That’s something the agency has never done, but it would result in far more protective pollution safeguards across the board.
“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we must fundamentally reset our relationship with wildlife and the natural world,” said Hartl. “If we protect the planet’s most imperiled species, we’ll take care of people too. Their protection will give us cleaner air and water and less risk of another zoonotic pandemic sweeping across the globe.”