NEW YORK (June 1, 2017) – WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) released a statement in response to the announced withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The following statement was released by WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper:

“Eighteen months ago, the world felt hope when the global community came together in Paris to forge a path forward to halt climate change. 

“The science is clear that human-caused warming of the planet and other climate change impacts are harming people, livelihoods and wildlife, and it will get worse unless something is done to curtail it. It is not just the climate scientists and conservationists who are raising this alarm; business leaders, economists and national security experts are urging global action to address climate change.

“The withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement creates a leadership void in the world that will be filled by other countries. The U.S. is ceding its historic role as an innovator, convener and global problem solver.

“This is a missed opportunity for U.S. leadership and it’s a missed opportunity for our planet.

“Thankfully, the rest of the world, and states across the U.S., will continue this effort

"At WCS, we are confident the U.S. will continue to work toward Paris through the work of states and the business and nonprofit sectors. The global momentum building behind taking actions to curtail climate change should give us all hope. 

"WCS works with local communities in nearly 60 countries and all the world’s oceans that depend on healthy ecosystems and they are seeing the effects of climate change now; from coral bleaching and depleted fisheries to drought, infectious disease and invasive pests. Every day, we are working with these communities to address issues of deforestation and we are helping both wildlife and people adapt to the impacts of climate change by ensuring the protection of functioning ecosystems and the services they provide that support all life on our planet.

“We all need to take further action to promote clean energy, wean our economies off fossil fuels, curtail deforestation, and focus even more on applied solutions to both the current and future impacts of a warming planet. And we must continue to push for a fully global response to the greatest of ecological challenges despite this setback.

"The United States cannot lose its role as a leader on environmental and conservation issues. We aim to work with the Administration and Congress on such issues, including wildlife trafficking."