WWF Lays Out Environment Goals for the Candidates
Forget all the wars. The WWF says that what’s most threatening to the future of humans is climate change, natural resource exhaustion and ecosystem collapse, according to its recently released “Greenprint.”
Candidates, pay attention.
The Greenprint is a sort of mandate for the new administration, whomever’s it may be. It outlines what’s wrong with the United States right now (the environment isn’t a high enough priority) and what the new administration should do to fix it.
The Greenprint first points out that the United States is lagging in leading the global movement for climate change, and asks that the next president lead the global effort by sending a representative to upcoming international climate talks and encouraging bipartisan effort. So, no more bickering. The report also wants the president to support the curbing of deforestation and establish a domestic cap and trade program (as of yet capping and trading is only happening regionally).
But it’s not just enough to help the whole world, the report continues. We have to fix things at home, too. The report advocates stricter implementation of the Clean Air Act and stricter goals for a 10-year plan for alternative energy. What I find most interesting about this section is that it specifically focuses on the executive branch. WWF wants the next president to establish a goal of zero emissions in the branch in 10 years.
It’s not enough to just help the environment. The Greenprint wants the following:
- The United States to help more with sustainable agriculture in developing countries.
- The United States to take a lead in saving the world’s fisheries.
Candidates, beware. You might actually have to help us domestically instead of just spreading our arms abroad. In terms of the environment, the Greenprint wants us to cool down our corn ethanol fevers and look for alternative biofuels. It also wants reform in agricultural policy, period, to get rid of huge subsidies for domestic goods (to help farmers in developing countries). And then we can use that saved money for land conservation.
Says the report: More than 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, while another 2 billion lack sanitation, resulting in water-borne diseases that annually claim the lives of more than 2 million people—the vast majority of them children.
This section requires work both home and abroad. The United States should convene panels and forums looking into better world water legislation, and work with states to resolve water conflict issues. What? Yes, we even have water conflicts here, especially in the drought-like Southeastern states.
Foreign Policy and Conservation
The print says that it’s not just enough to give foreign assistance; we have to make sure that assistance is going toward environmentally sound policies. Which makes perfect sense. We have to make the programs sustainable in order for them to work for countries in the long run – and in order for us to be able to one day let the country work independently.
Specifically, the print asks that the government convene a global summit to plan out how much money it’s going to take to fix environmental issues. We also have to strengthen our relations with China and protect coral reefs.
And at home? No Arctic drilling!
These are a lot of lofty goals. But they shouldn’t hard for a government that makes the environment a priority. And a government that recognizes that most, if not all, of these environmental issues are man-made…and that the causes do matter.
Photo Credit: bovzou at Flickr under a Creative Commons License