WHEREAS, the National Wildlife Federation, at its Annual Meeting assembled June 10-13, 2020, adopted a resolution urging the United States Congress and all federal agencies to swiftly adopt and implement policy actions that will ensure that the United States achieve at least a forty-five percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) relative to 2010 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions (taking into account carbon removal) by no later than 2050, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); and further reflecting that on April 22, 2021 President Biden announced a new target for the United States to achieve a 50-52 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030; and
WHEREAS, the environmental impacts of the transition to a net zero GHG emission economy (hereinafter, “a net-zero carbon economy”) are projected to be overwhelmingly positive, there will be potentially negative environmental impacts from this transition that must be mitigated under the National Environmental Policy Act; the Clean Water Act Sec. 404, or other laws, rules, regulations, or federal investments; and
WHEREAS, remediation and reclamation of abandoned coal mine lands will offer both challenges and opportunities for many individuals and communities in states and regions where surface mines are located, so too will expansion of the mining of minerals used in technologies upon which the net-zero carbon economy will be dependent; and
WHEREAS, the transition to a net-zero carbon economy will inevitably involve tradeoffs in land use and land use cover (LULUC) to accommodate solar and wind energy generation and transmission, carbon capture and sequestration, and other innovative technologies, it is important that potentially negative impacts on forests, productive farm and range land, visual landscapes, seascapes, and other working and protected lands be avoided, minimized, and where such impacts are unavoidable, offset under established principles of compensatory mitigation; and
WHEREAS, the economic impacts of the transition to a net-zero carbon economy are projected to be overwhelmingly positive, it is important that overarching principles of justice, equity, and a just transition ensure that no person living in the Unites States and no community or region is disproportionately and unfairly burdened by negative impacts, and that all Americans are afforded an equal opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a net-zero carbon economy; and
WHEREAS, threats to wildlife and their habitats from climate change-driven and exacerbated extreme weather events vary widely from region to region, and between and within states and territories, thus requiring that net-zero carbon policies and actions be adapted to local conditions in order that they best serve both wildlife and human populations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Wildlife Federation, at its Annual Meeting assembled June 8-12, 2021, calls for minimizing and mitigating transition-related economic, social, and health disparities for all people and communities in the United States through implementation of all socioeconomic interventions needed to secure the rights and livelihoods of all, under the principles of a fair and equitable transition and environmental justice; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that potentially negative impacts on forests, productive farm and range land, visual landscapes, seascapes, and other working and protected lands and waters be avoided, minimized, and where such impacts are unavoidable, offset under established principles of compensatory mitigation; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED pursuant to its commitment to uniting all people to ensure wildlife thrive in a rapidly changing world, the National Wildlife Federation recognizes the importance of ensuring that the transition to a net-zero carbon economy leads to not only net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, but also to net-positive protection of wildlife in the United States, including the cleaning up of local environments, and the restoration and reconnection of fragmented and degraded wildlife habitat on and across protected lands, working lands, waterways, coasts, and marine waters.