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Climate Change on the National Agenda with State of the Union Message

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from its President and CEO, Mark Tercek, regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address this evening:

Arlington, Virginia | February 12, 2013

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from its President and CEO, Mark Tercek, regarding President Obama’s State of the Union address this evening:

“President Obama recognized that climate change is an acute risk to the well-being of people across the Earth. Climate change is here, now, demanding a global response. I am grateful that President Obama has expressed a determination to move ahead in a bipartisan way.

“The costs of unrestrained climate change will far outweigh the costs of reducing the carbon emissions that are causing climate change. The single most reckless, risky and costly choice would be to do nothing. Tonight, I’m happy to see our President taking the lead to move forward.

“The need to respond to a changing planet is now firmly on the national agenda. I am encouraged by the Administration’s statement. We at The Nature Conservancy recommend some important next steps, such as: putting a price on carbon; investing in research and development that can lead to discoveries applicable in other countries like China and India; and facilitating the siting of renewable energy. And we strongly endorse the President’s call for cutting energy waste, which is the least-cost way of reducing carbon emissions.

“While we can and should reduce the risk of ongoing carbon emissions, we also must cope with the impacts of climate change that cannot now be avoided, such as sea level rise and more severe and erratic weather patterns that result in increased storms, heat waves, floods and droughts. Whenever and wherever possible, we should invest in natural defenses such as the protection of natural floodplains and the restoration of coastal features like oyster reefs, marshes, sand dunes and wetlands that help reduce risks by acting as buffers to waves and higher tides. This kind of natural infrastructure is often more durable and cost-effective than traditional ‘gray’ infrastructure, and is a smart investment that will save government money in the long run.

“The president also called for cutting red tape in energy development. It is our view that when energy and other facilities are being sited and designed, we should avoid the most sensitive locations, minimize the impacts through good design, and compensate for those impacts that cannot be avoided. This should be done on a large scale, and be planned in advance of siting decisions. A similar approach to the federal planning and permitting process for energy development has evolved for building solar generation capacity in the Southwest. It is a good model that can be applied to siting the kind of low-carbon and renewable energy production called for by the President.”

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

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Heather Layman
The Nature Conservancy

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