Report details how Biden can protect 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 without Congress

U.S. climate envoy John F. Kerry at the summit in Egypt. (Peter Dejong/AP)

Soon after taking office, President Biden committed to conserving 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030, an ambitious goal aimed at protecting wildlife while slashing planet-warming emissions.

With Republicans set to take control of the House, the next Congress appears unlikely to pass major legislation that would deliver on this goal. But Biden can still fulfill his commitment to conservation if he acts with urgency and wields his executive authority, according to a report shared with The Climate 202 before its broader release Tuesday.

The report from the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the administration, focused on eight actions that the administration could take to conserve public and private lands while combating climate change, respecting tribal sovereignty, and expanding access to nature for underserved communities.

The actions include designating new national monuments and national marine sanctuaries; conserving old-growth and mature forests; barring future mining and drilling on public lands; and harnessing new conservation funding from the recently passed climate law and the bipartisan infrastructure law.

“The president and his Cabinet have taken some really important steps, but more urgency is needed to meet this part of his climate commitment,” Drew McConville, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and the lead author of the report, told The Climate 202.

“The good news — and a major conclusion here — is that he and his Cabinet already have the tools to make it happen,” said McConville, who previously served as a senior adviser on conservation issues at the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Barack Obama. 11-22-22

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