Landmark Legislation Paves Way to Comprehensive Climate Change Policy

NEW YORK (MAY 21, 2009) - The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee for including provisions on forestry preservation in the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

The provisions call for action to avoid the burning or cutting down of the world’s forests. Deforestation results in one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions – more than all the world’s cars, trucks, planes and ships combined, and, destroys the ecosystems that both animals – many endangered -- and people rely on for their survival.

WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs John Calvelli said, “We praise U.S. Reps. Henry Waxman and Edward Markey for their leadership in including provisions to protect tropical forests in the groundbreaking American Clean Energy and Security Act. With 20% of annual global emissions resulting from tropical deforestation in developing countries, these provisions are a critical component to comprehensive climate change legislation.”

The Wildlife Conservation Society has a long history in the area of forest conservation and policy. Currently, WCS is helping countries around the world, in places like Cambodia, Chile, Bolivia, and Madagascar, protect their carbon resource interests while they combat climate change. While many such countries contain biological richness, indigenous peoples often live in poverty. Decades of deforestation—much of which has occurred to support small-scale and unsustainable subsistence farming—has left them with a small fraction of their original forests.

Forest carbon crediting is being used successfully in some of these places now - creating carbon-based revenue streams that provide an economic alternative to degrading and cutting forests. This system not only mitigates climate change but also protects the current and long-term interests of the local communities and the unique wildlife like tigers, gorillas, and jaguars that directly depends upon the forest for survival. The forestry provisions allow for the sale of carbon credits generated by forest protection and avoided deforestation in developing countries, to U.S. companies looking to offset their carbon emissions.

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes towards nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth. Visit:

Special Note to the Media: If you would like to guide your readers or viewers to a web link where they can make donations in support of helping save wildlife and wild places, please direct them to:

Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682;
Scott Smith: (1-718-220-3275;