Washington, D.C. (November 1, 2013)–– President Obama signed an executive order today to help states and local governments increase resilience in the face of powerful storms like Hurricane Sandy and other forms of extreme weather. Extreme weather events are expected to increase as the planet warms.
The executive order includes provisions to protect natural systems, stating that federal agencies must create an inventory of proposed and completed changes to “make the nation's watersheds, natural resources, and ecosystems, and the communities and economies that depend on them, more resilient in the face of a changing climate.” The White House is also reforming policies that “may, perhaps unintentionally, increase the vulnerability of natural or built systems, economic sectors, natural resources, or communities to climate change related risks.” Below is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife president and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“The president is taking yet another important step forward under the climate action plan he announced in June. President Obama recognizes that we are already feeling the impacts of climate change. Instead of just cleaning up the mess after each storm, flood, drought or fire, he is calling for proactive preparation for the worst impacts. This strategy will help both our communities and wildlife habitat weather these impacts, and has the potential to save millions in damages to homes, businesses and federal lands.
“Today’s executive order is a significant step forward in equipping the nation to respond to the here and now impacts of climate change on wildlife and natural resources. Particularly important is the directive to federal agencies that they review and take action to implement planning efforts such as the National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. In this regard, President Obama’s directive echoes important elements in comprehensive legislation on the subject, the Safeguarding America’s Future and Environment Act, sponsored by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) and Max Baucus (MT).
“We are at risk of losing countless species to climate disruption, not to mention the countless benefits nature provides us like clean water and air, storm and flood protection, and the pollination of the nation’s food supply. The president has charted a two pronged attack on the issue: fighting the pollution that causes global warming, and with this Executive Order, preparing our nation for the impacts we are and will be feeling over the coming years.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org  and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews .