Climate-Smart Infrastructure Policy for Communities, Jobs, and Wildlife

Number 2019-01

WHEREAS, the National Wildlife Federation previously adopted numerous resolutions supporting action by governments, corporations, and others to respond to the scientific consensus on the threat posed by human-induced global climate change, including domestic and international policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance scientific research, and promote public awareness; and

WHEREAS, climate change is increasing the intensity of extreme weather and disaster events such as super storms, megafires, storm surge, massive flooding, sea-level rise, and severe drought that have killed people and wildlife, devastated communities, and destroyed natural systems, which provide habitat, buffer severe weather events, and naturally sequester carbon; and

WHEREAS, climate scientists have published peer reviewed studies in the 2018 IPCC Special Report and Fourth National Climate Assessment showing that the world must achieve net zero emissions by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic impacts resulting from warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius, and that policies should be in place in the next twelve years for countries to have a chance of meeting this goal; and

WHEREAS, due to neglect and underfunding much of the nation’s traditional built infrastructure, including, but not limited to, transportation systems, pipes, sewer systems, and buildings is rapidly deteriorating and inefficient, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and underserving public needs; and
WHEREAS, pressure is mounting on Congress to address the nation’s infrastructure needs; and

WHEREAS, natural infrastructure, consisting of natural or nature-based systems, can provide essential services and benefits to society, such as flood protection, water purification, and carbon storage; and

WHEREAS, National Wildlife Federation analysis shows that climate-focused infrastructure policy with robust and targeted funding and incentive mechanisms that advance low- and zero-carbon energy, efficiency, transportation, and ecosystem improvements offers a near-term opportunity to make a significant “down payment” on reducing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions; and

WHEREAS, equitable, climate-smart infrastructure policy can direct investment and create family-sustaining job opportunities in areas of economic dislocation while also alleviating the impacts of local pollution; and

WHEREAS, climate-smart and robust natural infrastructure investments enjoy widespread public support.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation, at its annual meeting assembled June 5-8, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, hereby supports significant investment in climate-smart infrastructure in order to set the United States firmly on a trajectory to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation urges Congress and agencies to ensure that natural infrastructure and climate-smart, resilient, and adaptive energy and transportation infrastructure are included in any federal infrastructure policy package; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation prioritizes equitable, just investment in climate-smart and natural infrastructure, so that all people, communities, and wildlife may benefit from low- and zero-carbon solutions to climate change.