Washington, DC, United States
Washington, DC, United States

Time filter

Source Type

Calado H.,University of The Azores | Bentz J.,University of The Azores | Ng K.,University of The Azores | Zivian A.,Ocean Conservancy | And 4 more authors.
Marine Policy | Year: 2012

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are playing important roles in environmental conservation and management. Some are actively involved in the development and implementation of marine spatial planning (MSP), especially in Europe where this has been embodied within a European Directive. MSP is being used by many countries to sustainably manage coastal and marine areas, and reduce conflicts. However, recommendations regarding specific NGO roles within the MSP process are lacking. Consequently, to fill this gap and discuss a way forward, a session at the 5th Global Conference on Oceans, Coasts and Islands (GOF5) brought together MSP experts and NGO representatives. This paper reports the conclusions of these discussions and presents a summary guideline document for efficient and effective NGO MSP engagement. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Christie P.,University of Washington | Pietri D.M.,Blue Earth | Stevenson T.C.,Ocean Conservancy | Pollnac R.,University of Rhode Island | And 2 more authors.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2016

The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF) is an ambitious marine conservation and governance program engaging six countries in Southeast Asia and Melanesia that has attracted significant international support, including an investment of over $40 million from the United States through the five-year U.S. Coral Triangle Initiative Support Program. In this paper, we examine outcomes of the USCTI documented through the Learning Project (LP), a collaborative, interdisciplinary project capturing lessons learned from USCTI and CTI-CFF. The co-design process and collaborative spirit of the LP allowed it to collect a large body of information from a diverse range of informants in a relatively short time frame and provide important documentation of the achievements and challenges of USCTI. For instance, social surveys of resource users and policy makers in the Coral Triangle region and the United States document that the CTI-CFF has resulted in impressive management outcomes, including: improved MPA enforcement, increases in national and regional management capacity, leadership creation, and integrated conservation-fishery-climate change planning. Significant challenges remain to ensure that overall planning processes effectively link regional-level, national-level, subnational-level (district/provincial) and community-level efforts and that international donors and policy-makers, managers, and resources users in the region remain committed to this conservation experiment. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | University of Miami, National Wildlife Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and 11 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere put shallow, warm-water coral reef ecosystems, and the people who depend upon them at risk from two key global environmental stresses: 1) elevated sea surface temperature (that can cause coral bleaching and related mortality), and 2) ocean acidification. These global stressors: cannot be avoided by local management, compound local stressors, and hasten the loss of ecosystem services. Impacts to people will be most grave where a) human dependence on coral reef ecosystems is high, b) sea surface temperature reaches critical levels soonest, and c) ocean acidification levels are most severe. Where these elements align, swift action will be needed to protect peoples lives and livelihoods, but such action must be informed by data and science.Designing policies to offset potential harm to coral reef ecosystems and people requires a better understanding of where CO2-related global environmental stresses could cause the most severe impacts. Mapping indicators has been proposed as a way of combining natural and social science data to identify policy actions even when the needed science is relatively nascent. To identify where people are at risk and where more science is needed, we map indicators of biological, physical and social science factors to understand how human dependence on coral reef ecosystems will be affected by globally-driven threats to corals expected in a high-CO2 world. Western Mexico, Micronesia, Indonesia and parts of Australia have high human dependence and will likely face severe combined threats. As a region, Southeast Asia is particularly at risk. Many of the countries most dependent upon coral reef ecosystems are places for which we have the least robust data on ocean acidification. These areas require new data and interdisciplinary scientific research to help coral reef-dependent human communities better prepare for a high CO2 world.


Fox H.E.,World Wildlife Fund | Mascia M.B.,World Wildlife Fund | Basurto X.,Duke University | Costa A.,WWF Mozambique Coordination Office | And 12 more authors.
Conservation Letters | Year: 2012

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are often implemented to conserve or restore species, fisheries, habitats, ecosystems, and ecological functions and services; buffer against the ecological effects of climate change; and alleviate poverty in coastal communities. Scientific research provides valuable insights into the social and ecological impacts of MPAs, as well as the factors that shape these impacts, providing useful guidance or "rules of thumb" for science-based MPA policy. Both ecological and social factors foster effective MPAs, including substantial coverage of representative habitats and oceanographic conditions; diverse size and spacing; protection of habitat bottlenecks; participatory decisionmaking arrangements; bounded and contextually appropriate resource use rights; active and accountable monitoring and enforcement systems; and accessible conflict resolution mechanisms. For MPAs to realize their full potential as a tool for ocean governance, further advances in policy-relevant MPA science are required. These research frontiers include MPA impacts on nontarget and wide-ranging species and habitats; impacts beyond MPA boundaries, on ecosystem services, and on resource-dependent human populations, as well as potential scale mismatches of ecosystem service flows. Explicitly treating MPAs as "policy experiments" and employing the tools of impact evaluation holds particular promise as a way for policy-relevant science to inform and advance science-based MPA policy. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


News Article | September 20, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

Earlier this year, it appeared that we might be on pace for a startling new record in the Arctic. Back in May, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by floating sea ice was even smaller than it was at the same time in 2012, the year that went on to set the all-time record for low sea ice extent in the month of September. September, you see, is when Arctic sea ice naturally declines to its annual minimum each year, after months of summer warmth and unbroken sunlight. No wonder, then, that climate wonks have been anxiously watching the daily charts from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) recently, wondering how low this September’s ice would actually go. However, Arctic weather during the summer was more friendly to ice — cloudiness, for instance, can cool down the ocean — and as a result, this year’s September extent wasn’t quite so low as in 2012. Instead, the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced Thursday that 2016 was merely tied for the second-lowest extent ever recorded, with the year 2007. The all-time record low year, 2012, saw just 1.31 million square miles of sea ice extent at its September low, on Sept. 17 of that year. The 2016 low, reached on Sept. 10, was 1.6 million square miles, and the 2007 low was very nearly the same, leading to what the center calls a “statistical tie.” In other words, in September of 2007 and 2016, the area of the Arctic Ocean covered by sea ice was bigger than it was in 2012 by an area about the size of Texas. But the real story is that all of these years are way, way below the average, as a figure from the National Snow and Ice Data Center makes clear: The center stresses that its determination about 2016’s sea ice minimum is merely “preliminary.” It is still possible that the sea ice extent could tick a bit lower before the ocean begins to refreeze, and the planet’s icy cap starts to expand, as winter nears. The researchers actually appeared to express a bit of surprise that 2016 didn’t stand out more in September, given how dramatically low ice extent was earlier in the year, and given evidence that the ice was also very thin and the ocean very warm. After all, 2016 is widely expected to turn out to be the warmest year on record for the globe as a whole. But sea ice doesn’t necessarily follow in perfect lockstep. Weather conditions during the summer matter a lot: “Statistically, there is little relationship between May and September sea ice extents after removing the long-term trend, indicating the strong role of summer weather patterns in controlling sea ice loss,” notes the NSIDC. Thus, the punchline is clear: Don’t focus too much on any individual year; focus instead on the trend. And when it comes to trends in Arctic sea ice — one of the most observable planetary indicators — there’s just no doubt that the trend is down, and down, and down, even if not every year sets a new record. “September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.4 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average,” NASA says. Or think about it another way: According to a table presented by the NSIDC, all of the 10 lowest years for Arctic sea ice extent have occurred since 2005. This year, Arctic sea ice melt was paired with an astonishing window on the kind of world that this will bring — a cruise ship, the Crystal Serenity, successfully navigated the Northwest Passage on a trip from Alaska to New York via the Arctic. As sea ice trends lower and lower, we can only expect such incursions to grow. “The loss of summer sea ice … opens up the Arctic to increasing vessel traffic and the risks that come with it like higher risk of oil spills, impact of noise pollution on marine wildlife and the introduction of invasive species,” said Janice Searles Jones, president of the Ocean Conservancy, in a statement. “By 2025, vessel traffic through the Bering Strait is projected to increase anywhere from 100 – 500% from what it was in 2013.” From space, a new effort to crack down on illegal fishing across the globe Obama to designate the first-ever marine monument off the East Coast, in New England We’ve been protecting Earth’s land for 100 years. We’re finally starting to protect its oceans For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here, and follow us on Twitter here.


Gattuso J.-P.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Gattuso J.-P.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Gattuso J.-P.,Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations | Magnan A.,Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations | And 22 more authors.
Science | Year: 2015

The ocean moderates anthropogenic climate change at the cost of profound alterations of its physics, chemistry, ecology, and services. Here, we evaluate and compare the risks of impacts on marine and coastal ecosystems - and the goods and services they provide - for growing cumulative carbon emissions under two contrasting emissions scenarios. The current emissions trajectory would rapidly and significantly alter many ecosystems and the associated services on which humans heavily depend. A reduced emissions scenario - consistent with the Copenhagen Accord's goal of a global temperature increase of less than 2°C - is much more favorable to the ocean but still substantially alters important marine ecosystems and associated goods and services. The management options to address ocean impacts narrow as the ocean warms and acidifies. Consequently, any new climate regime that fails to minimize ocean impacts would be incomplete and inadequate. © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.


News Article | September 20, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

A decade ago, only a tiny fraction of the world’s oceans had been protected from overfishing and other environmental threats. The United States had scores of national parks and other landmarks. Other countries had safeguarded cultural, historical and natural treasures. But for the oceans, such efforts remained in their infancy. “Ocean conservation was an afterthought,” said Matt Rand, who directs the Global Ocean Legacy project for the Pew Charitable Trusts. “When you looked around the world a decade ago, very little investment was going into the conservation of ocean ecosystems.” A key example of how that began to change came in 2006, when President George W. Bush designated an island chain spanning nearly 1,400 miles of the Pacific northwest of Hawaii as a national monument. Last month, President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea (pronounced “Papa-HA-now-moh-koo-AH-kay-ah”) Marine National Monument to 582,578 square miles of land and sea, creating the largest ecologically protected area on the planet. As government leaders, scientists and environmental activists from around the world gather this week at the State Department for what has become an annual global conference on preserving the oceans, roughly 3 percent of the world’s oceans are now protected. That’s a far cry from the 30 to 40 percent that many scientists think will be necessary over the long term to maintain the sustainability of the seas that feed billions of people and employ millions of workers. But it’s exponentially more than only a few years ago. “I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who engineered the first such gathering in 2014, said in an interview, even as he acknowledged that much more work lies ahead. “Through my years in the Senate, there had been great [nongovernmental] oceans advocates. … But I think it needed the force of an administration and a department like the State Department to say, ‘We’re not going to leave you out there on your own. This is our responsibility, too.’ “ The Obama administration’s embrace of the cause has emboldened ocean advocates and helped fuel a global push to set aside more protected areas. “Right now, I’m more hugely hopeful for ocean conservation than I’ve ever been at any other time in my career,” said Janis Jones, president of the Ocean Conservancy, an environmental advocacy group. “There are more and more people invested in protecting the ocean.” Those people include local advocates trying to protect marine species from threats that include plastic debris and the acidification underway as oceans absorb human-generated carbon emissions. But increasingly, it also includes high-level leaders in different parts of the globe. Last year, for instance, the president of the tiny island country of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean pushed to create a marine reserve larger than the state of California. President Thomas Esang “Tommy” Remengesau Jr. signed a designation to keep 80 percent of its territorial waters from activities such as fishing and mining. About the same time, Chile created the largest marine reserve in the Americas off its coast called Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park. The area encompasses roughly 115,000 square miles — almost the size of Italy. And last week, the presidents of Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica announced they would expand the marine protected areas under their jurisdiction to more than 83,000 square miles, creating a network of underwater “highways” that will allow wide-ranging species such as sea turtles and sharks more freedom to move without facing intense fishing pressure. Making the announcement, Ecuador President Rafael Correa noted his nation’s underwater territory is five times larger than its terrestrial one. “Large-scale marine protected areas are the single largest driver for ocean protection right now,” said Wilhelm, who led the public process that resulted in President Bush creating the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2006. “It was a crazy idea back in 2000. And now it’s normal.” Wilhelm, who served as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration superintendent of Papahānaumokuākea from June 2006 to July 2014, said protecting those areas required a shift in mindset among policymakers. Once they accepted the idea of places in the ocean as part of a country’s cultural and historic heritage, she said, it became easier to declare them off limits. “Before, we thought about heritage as cathedrals or maybe Mount Kilimanjaro,” Wilhelm observed, “but not about wild oceans.” [Obama seeks to make a big splash by creating the largest protected area on the planet] There remains considerable local opposition to restricting fishing activities in parts of the sea, whether it’s more than a thousand miles from Honolulu or off the coast of New England. Eric Reid, general manager at a fish processing plant in Point Judith, R.I., said in an interview that just because the reserve closes off a small fraction of the ocean does not soften the economic impact on communities that fish there. “If the state of Connecticut was turned into a monument and there was no economic activity whatsoever, or hit by a meteor or vaporized, the spin that could be used is it’s only 2 percent of the States,” Reid said. “But the people of Connecticut would be pretty uptight.” A group of marine biologists and conservationists decided more than a decade ago to spur an intentional competition among heads of state in which leaders would vie for the mantle of designating the largest marine reserve on Earth. When Bush invoked the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2006, it ranked as the world’s largest protected area, but by earlier this year it had slipped to 10th in the rankings. With its recent expansion, it reclaimed the No. 1 spot. Advocates have appealed personally to heads of state — and their spouses — to grant these safeguards. Two wildlife photographers, David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton, spent much of 2003 and 2004 documenting marine and terrestrial species on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and in the fall of 2005 the then-head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, James L. Connaughton, gave their book “Archipelago” to first lady Laura Bush. The first lady, an avid birder, became a passionate advocate for creation of the monument and traveled there in 2007. At times, scientists have even taken leaders underwater to view potential sites for protection. National Geographic explorer-in-residence Enric Sala went in a remotely operated underwater vehicle piloted by the president of Gabon to survey that nation’s offshore resources, and in 2014 President Ali Bongo Ondimba created a series of marine parks covering 18,000 square miles — 23 percent of the waters under Gabon’s jurisdiction. [More of the planet was protected in 2015 than ever before–few noticed because it was underwater] Sala wrote in an email that there is plenty of scientific evidence to show that large marine protected areas ensure their habitats are more resilient to climate change and boosts the size and reproductive capacity of fish there. Coral reefs have recovered in a protected area in the Pacific’s Phoenix Islands Protected Area, he noted, where fishing is prohibited. And scientific analyses have found a fourfold increase in the biomass of fish in protected areas over time. “I saw that myself diving in the remote and unfished southern Line Islands in 2009,” he said. “These islands were hit by the strong El Niño of 1997-98, but 10 years later the corals looked pristine and healthy, as though that warming event never happened.” Historically it has been difficult to get momentum behind ocean conservation in part because so much of the ocean is considered international high seas, and no one leader or one country can decide to protect it. Sala said this is the area that policymakers need to eye next. “If nobody owns or is responsible for a patch of the ocean, it makes it much harder to create the coalition that’s necessary and the authority that’s necessary to move that ocean space into conservation,” Jones said. “It’s really hard, because the lines are not clear.” She said that treating the oceans as a common space has hindered the world’s ability to safeguard them, and only in recent hears have nations made more concrete efforts to work together to grapple with which areas deserve protection. “Continuing to treat the ocean just as a global commons is really ruinous for us all,” she said. “When everybody is responsible, nobody is responsible.” Still, most experts said, many citizens in the United States and abroad have a hard time understanding the need for marine protected areas. “People get parks on land. They don’t really get parks in the ocean. Not just green parks, but blue parks,” said Jane Lubchenco, who served as head of NOAA during Obama’s first term. “A hundred years ago it was set in motion a movement to protect special places on land. Now is the time to think about protecting special places in the ocean.” Scientists nearly double sea level rise projections for 2100, because of Antarctica The mysterious ‘cold blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean is starting to give up its secrets In Hoboken, a glimpse of cities’ future fights over rising seas


News Article | September 14, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

A decade ago, only a tiny fraction of the world’s oceans had been protected from overfishing and other environmental threats. The United States had scores of national parks and other landmarks. Other countries had safeguarded cultural, historical and natural treasures. But for the oceans, such efforts remained in their infancy. “Ocean conservation was an afterthought,” said Matt Rand, who directs the Global Ocean Legacy project for the Pew Charitable Trusts. “When you looked around the world a decade ago, very little investment was going into the conservation of ocean ecosystems.” A key example of how that began to change came in 2006, when President George W. Bush designated an island chain spanning nearly 1,400 miles of the Pacific northwest of Hawaii as a national monument. Last month, President Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea (pronounced “Papa-HA-now-moh-koo-AH-kay-ah”) Marine National Monument to 582,578 square miles of land and sea, creating the largest ecologically protected area on the planet. As government leaders, scientists and environmental activists from around the world gather this week at the State Department for what has become an annual global conference on preserving the oceans, roughly 3 percent of the world’s oceans are now protected. That’s a far cry from the 30 to 40 percent that many scientists think will be necessary over the long term to maintain the sustainability of the seas that feed billions of people and employ millions of workers. But it’s exponentially more than only a few years ago. “I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made,” Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who engineered the first such gathering in 2014, said in an interview, even as he acknowledged that much more work lies ahead. “Through my years in the Senate, there had been great [nongovernmental] oceans advocates. … But I think it needed the force of an administration and a department like the State Department to say, ‘We’re not going to leave you out there on your own. This is our responsibility, too.’ “ The Obama administration’s embrace of the cause has emboldened ocean advocates and helped fuel a global push to set aside more protected areas. “Right now, I’m more hugely hopeful for ocean conservation than I’ve ever been at any other time in my career,” said Janis Jones, president of the Ocean Conservancy, an environmental advocacy group. “There are more and more people invested in protecting the ocean.” Those people include local advocates trying to protect marine species from threats that include plastic debris and the acidification underway as oceans absorb human-generated carbon emissions. But increasingly, it also includes high-level leaders in different parts of the globe. Last year, for instance, the president of the tiny island country of Palau in the western Pacific Ocean pushed to create a marine reserve larger than the state of California. President Thomas Esang “Tommy” Remengesau Jr. signed a designation to keep 80 percent of its territorial waters from activities such as fishing and mining. About the same time, Chile created the largest marine reserve in the Americas off its coast called Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park. The area encompasses roughly 115,000 square miles — almost the size of Italy. And last week, the presidents of Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica announced they would expand the marine protected areas under their jurisdiction to more than 83,000 square miles, creating a network of underwater “highways” that will allow wide-ranging species such as sea turtles and sharks more freedom to move without facing intense fishing pressure. Making the announcement, Ecuador President Rafael Correa noted his nation’s underwater territory is five times larger than its terrestrial one. “Large-scale marine protected areas are the single largest driver for ocean protection right now,” said Wilhelm, who led the public process that resulted in President Bush creating the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in 2006. “It was a crazy idea back in 2000. And now it’s normal.” Wilhelm, who served as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration superintendent of Papahānaumokuākea from June 2006 to July 2014, said protecting those areas required a shift in mindset among policymakers. Once they accepted the idea of places in the ocean as part of a country’s cultural and historic heritage, she said, it became easier to declare them off limits. “Before, we thought about heritage as cathedrals or maybe Mount Kilimanjaro,” Wilhelm observed, “but not about wild oceans.” [Obama seeks to make a big splash by creating the largest protected area on the planet] There remains considerable local opposition to restricting fishing activities in parts of the sea, whether it’s more than a thousand miles from Honolulu or off the coast of New England. Eric Reid, general manager at a fish processing plant in Point Judith, R.I., said in an interview that just because the reserve closes off a small fraction of the ocean does not soften the economic impact on communities that fish there. “If the state of Connecticut was turned into a monument and there was no economic activity whatsoever, or hit by a meteor or vaporized, the spin that could be used is it’s only 2 percent of the States,” Reid said. “But the people of Connecticut would be pretty uptight.” A group of marine biologists and conservationists decided more than a decade ago to spur an intentional competition among heads of state in which leaders would vie for the mantle of designating the largest marine reserve on Earth. When Bush invoked the 1906 Antiquities Act to protect the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2006, it ranked as the world’s largest protected area, but by earlier this year it had slipped to 10th in the rankings. With its recent expansion, it reclaimed the No. 1 spot. Advocates have appealed personally to heads of state — and their spouses — to grant these safeguards. Two wildlife photographers, David Liittschwager and Susan Middleton, spent much of 2003 and 2004 documenting marine and terrestrial species on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and in the fall of 2005 the then-head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, James L. Connaughton, gave their book “Archipelago” to first lady Laura Bush. The first lady, an avid birder, became a passionate advocate for creation of the monument and traveled there in 2007. At times, scientists have even taken leaders underwater to view potential sites for protection. National Geographic explorer-in-residence Enric Sala went in a remotely operated underwater vehicle piloted by the president of Gabon to survey that nation’s offshore resources, and in 2014 President Ali Bongo Ondimba created a series of marine parks covering 18,000 square miles — 23 percent of the waters under Gabon’s jurisdiction. [More of the planet was protected in 2015 than ever before–few noticed because it was underwater] Sala wrote in an email that there is plenty of scientific evidence to show that large marine protected areas ensure their habitats are more resilient to climate change and boosts the size and reproductive capacity of fish there. Coral reefs have recovered in a protected area in the Pacific’s Phoenix Islands Protected Area, he noted, where fishing is prohibited. And scientific analyses have found a fourfold increase in the biomass of fish in protected areas over time. “I saw that myself diving in the remote and unfished southern Line Islands in 2009,” he said. “These islands were hit by the strong El Niño of 1997-98, but 10 years later the corals looked pristine and healthy, as though that warming event never happened.” Historically it has been difficult to get momentum behind ocean conservation in part because so much of the ocean is considered international high seas, and no one leader or one country can decide to protect it. Sala said this is the area that policymakers need to eye next. “If nobody owns or is responsible for a patch of the ocean, it makes it much harder to create the coalition that’s necessary and the authority that’s necessary to move that ocean space into conservation,” Jones said. “It’s really hard, because the lines are not clear.” She said that treating the oceans as a common space has hindered the world’s ability to safeguard them, and only in recent hears have nations made more concrete efforts to work together to grapple with which areas deserve protection. “Continuing to treat the ocean just as a global commons is really ruinous for us all,” she said. “When everybody is responsible, nobody is responsible.” Still, most experts said, many citizens in the United States and abroad have a hard time understanding the need for marine protected areas. “People get parks on land. They don’t really get parks in the ocean. Not just green parks, but blue parks,” said Jane Lubchenco, who served as head of NOAA during Obama’s first term. “A hundred years ago it was set in motion a movement to protect special places on land. Now is the time to think about protecting special places in the ocean.” Scientists nearly double sea level rise projections for 2100, because of Antarctica The mysterious ‘cold blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean is starting to give up its secrets In Hoboken, a glimpse of cities’ future fights over rising seas


News Article | December 1, 2016
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

The League of Conservation Voters called on Donald Trump’s three oldest children on Thursday to ensure that their father protects the environment, citing an open letter they and the president-elect signed in 2009 urging President Obama to act on climate change. Thursday’s letter — which was signed by LCV President Gene Karpinski and the chair of LCV’s board of directors, Carol Browner, who served as Obama’s climate czar during his first term — highlights the extent to which environmentalists are concerned about the direction of the next administration. On Wednesday, more than 2,300 scientists, including 22 Nobel laureates, sent a letter to Trump and GOP congressional leaders urging them to respect scientific integrity once they take the helm of the executive and legislative branches in January. Hours after LCV sent its letter to Trump’s children, a coalition of 30 green groups sent every member of the Senate a letter arguing that they should only support Cabinet nominees next year if they are committed to key environmental safeguards. Noting that the incoming president had vowed to unify the country, they write, “A critical step forward would be for him to nominate Cabinet secretaries and agency heads who are committed to addressing the climate crisis and to protecting our air, water, health, public lands and wildlife.” “If the President-elect instead chooses to nominate individuals who deny climate science or would seek to gut our bedrock environmental protections or roll back recent climate progress, we urge you to vote against their confirmation,” adds the signatories, which include the National Parks Conservation Association, Ocean Conservancy and the Sierra Club. For their part, Karpinski and Browner note that the four Trumps signed a letter addressed to Obama and published in the New York Times in November 2009 that cautioned, “If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” “Seven years later the stakes have never been higher in the global fight against climate change,” Karpinski and Browner write in Thursday’s letter. None of Trump’s children spoke extensively about the issue of climate change during the campaign, though Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid hunters. Donald Jr. told a group at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s meeting this summer that the campaign had “broken away from a lot of traditional conservative dogma on the issue, in that we do want federal lands to remain federal,” a position his father outlined in a Field & Stream interview nearly a year ago. [Over 2,000 scientists urge Trump to respect ‘scientific integrity and independence’] The Trump campaign could not be reached for comment Thursday. On the question of climate change, however, the president-elect has given little indication that he will pursue the kinds of policies that LCV and other groups support. Donald Trump has vowed to boost fossil fuel production in the United States, particularly within the coal industry, and at a town hall meeting in New Hampshire during the GOP primaries, he mocked the idea that global warming is a threat. At that event, LCV volunteer Meghan Andrade asked Trump what he would do to address the issue, to which he replied: “Let me ask you this — take it easy, fellas — how many people here believe in global warming? Do you believe in global warming?” After asking three times “Who believes in global warming?” and soliciting a show of hands, Trump concluded that “nobody” believed climate change was underway except for Andrade. “Well, it’s a very interesting” question, Trump said. “You believe, right? You believe?” Referring to that incident, Karpinski and Browner write, “On Election Night, your father said he wants to be a president for all Americans. It’s pretty simple. For your children’s future and the future of all Americans, we must honor the United States commitments under the Paris agreement and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at least 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050, and we must defend the Clean Power Plan, the single largest step our nation has taken to address climate change.” They also specifically point to some of those being considered by Trump to head key environmental agencies or to serve as top advisers — including the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Myron Ebell, former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former Texas Commission on Environmental Quality chair Kathleen Hartnett White — as people who “should make it nowhere near his administration. Our planet simply can’t afford to give polluters free rein to pollute our air and water and even sell off public lands.” [Top green group to spend at least $40 million this election, shattering past records] It is unclear how much leverage the nation’s environmental groups — including LCV, which endorsed Hillary Clinton for president before a single primary ballot was cast and spent $10 million in an effort to help her win the White House — have when it comes to Trump or his three oldest children, who serve as some of his top advisers.

Loading Ocean Conservancy collaborators
Loading Ocean Conservancy collaborators