Biden Pledges To Support This Initiative That Slows Climate Crisis & Preserves Wildlife

November 16, 2020

rewilding the nation

President elect Joe Biden has pledged to sign an executive order directly addressing climate change on his first day back in office.

The Thirty by Thirty Resolution to Save Nature was introduced to Members of Congress in Oct 2019 by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) as a response to growing climate crisis concerns and scientist recommendations. The plan calls for conserving 30% of America’s lands and 30% oceans by 2030, designating the title, “Thirty by Thirty.” The U.S. currently only protects 12% of land and 26% of oceans.

In addition to pledged support by Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, many senators including Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) also support the resolution. Thirty by Thirty has some bipartisan endorsement, with former Republican Members of Congress showing their support.

Thirty By Thirty

Increasing the amount of protected lands and oceans reduces atmospheric carbon, preserves wildlife, and proactively addresses economic collapse.

Reducing Carbon

The abundance of carbon in our atmosphere is creating a rise in the earth’s temperatures. Carbon sequestration and storage is possible by using land and oceans as “carbon sinks,” where plants and oceans take in atmospheric carbon.

Preserving Wildlife

By recovering and protecting plant and animal species through preserving ecosystems, we can prevent extinctions and maintain ecological functions.

Decreasing Costs Long-Term

It’s no surprise to many of us, that prevention is far more cost-effective than treatment.

A 2020 economics study found that investing in Thirty by Thirty would outweigh costs by a ratio of at least 5-to-1. Wildfires, droughts, and pollution are not only catastrophic for people, plants, and animals, but for the global economy. In 2018, the U.S Federal government spent $91,000,000,000 on natural disasters. Inaction towards global warming has unquestionable costs.

Engaging Community

The resolution plans to work with Indian Tribes and local communities to share control of conservation plans and resources. It also plans to increase access to nature for communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities

Can Biden Make Thirty by Thirty A Reality?

Yes, but Congress has an opportunity to make it difficult.

As with any executive order, the president has the power to enact changes without Congress’s approval. However, Congress can pass legislation to make implementation of said executive order difficult (i.e. removing funding). But the president then has the ability to veto Congress’s legislation. In order to override the president’s veto, Congress needs 2/3 majority to agree to the override. Congress currently consists of 100 senators and 435 members of the House of Representatives. It’s also possible an executive order could be brought to the Supreme Court and rejected if deemed unconstitutional.

So when Biden signs this executive order enacting Thirty by Thirty on his first day, Congress will decide if it wants to challenge it by creating new legislation. If Congress decides to pass opposing legislation to Thirty by Thirty, Biden can veto it, in which case Congress would need 2/3 of Senators and 2/3 of House Representatives to override Biden’s presidential veto.

A lot of back and forth, but you can see why Senate and House Rep seats are so important in the president’s ability to enact change.

Executive orders aren’t uncommon. There have been approximately 13,731 executive orders since George Washington took office in 1789. Obama issued 276 executive orders in his eight year tenure and Trump has issued 194 so far in his four year term. One of those Trump enacted his very first day, when he signed an executive order seeking to reverse the Affordable Care Act.

There is hope for positive change. Thirty by Thirty has bipartisan support. A 2019 study by the Center for American Progress found that 76% of polled Republicans supported the Thirty by Thirty resolution, hopefully their elected members of Congress will as well.

What We Can Do

  • Elect Representatives and Senators who want to fight climate change
    • Donate to officials who do support climate justice
      • At the time of this writing, there is a tight senate race in Georgia where runoff elections Jan 5th 2021 will decide whether Georgia’s two senate positions will be Democrats or Republicans (donate to the GAsenate.com to support the two candidates with climate change on the agenda)
  • Engage with your elected members of congress
    • Write, set-up meetings, and organize campaigns
  • Connect and discuss with your friends and family

Read the full Thirty by Thirty Resolution

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Also by Lindsay: Can Ranked Choice Voting Save Democracy? 

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Photo: Alvaro Araoz on Unsplash; by Henrique Félix on Unsplash
Lindsay Brave
Lindsay is a writer, researcher, and self-proclaimed vegan introvert. Lindsay spends her free time reading, making up dance moves (when no one’s watching), and upping her self-care routine. Connect with Lindsay on Instagram @lindsbrave or via email at lindsbrave@gmail.com.

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