News Release


Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate State & Foreign Ops Appropriations Subcommittee

Senator Patrick Leahy, Chair of the Senate State & Foreign Ops Appropriations Subcommittee

May 19, 2010, WASHINGTON, DC – The future of America’s ?ght against climate change and its e?ects on the economy, security and way of life are directly linked to the health and survival of the world’s tropical forests, said a bipartisan group of senators, scientists, development o?cials and advocates Wednesday. Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, renowned primatologist and conservationist, joined Senators Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) to call for the United States to make good on its $1 billion, three-year pledge to protect tropical forests around the globe.

Destruction of the world’s tropical forests accounts for more than 15% of all global carbon dioxide emissions – more than the European Union, and more than the entire global transportation sector. At the international climate negotiations at Copenhagen in December 2009, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack pledged the United States to contribute $1 billion over the next three years to protect tropical forests. However, those funds have not yet been appropriated by Congress.

Speakers at Wednesday’s event, hosted by Avoided Deforestation Partners in the Senate Caucus Room, issued a clear and resounding call for America to recognize the importance of tropical forests and invest the resources necessary to protect them from destruction.

“There is one thing we know with certainty: the world cannot address the looming catastrophe of climate change without protecting tropical forests,” said Dr. Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace. “Continuing to allow their destruction not only endangers our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, but truly does endanger us all.”

“Protecting tropical forests, and the animal species and indigenous people who inhabit them, must be a high priority in our climate change policy, and in our allocation of resources,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs.

The event came as advocates encouraged the Senate to restore public and private funding for rainforest conservation to the American Power Act introduced by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman. “Few if any aspects of society are una?ected by environmental degradation and climate change,” said Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), Chairwoman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations.

“Failure to conserve and adapt can lead to health problems, forced migration, lack of water resources, and diminished agricultural production, and the developing nations that are most vulnerable are least able to mitigate the e?ects. As Chair of the committee that funds foreign assistance, I will continue helping vulnerable societies mitigate the dangerous e?ects of environmental degradation, deforestation, and climate change.”

“Forest conservation is one of the most a?ordable and fastest ways to reduce global carbon emissions,” said Jeff Horowitz, founding partner of event co-host Avoided Deforestation Partners. “This event demonstrates the strong consensus that exists behind immediate action to protect the world’s forests and our climate.”

Dr. Goodall and honored speakers being taped for a network news program.

Dr. Goodall and honored speakers being taped for a network news program.

“America has the opportunity to send a powerful signal to the world that tropical forests are valued, and I am hopeful that the United States will follow through on its promises to help developing countries protect their tropical forests,” said Mark Tercek, president of The Nature Conservancy.

“Conserving tropical forests not only is necessary for the millions of people and wildlife who rely on them, it also is one of the most cost-e?ective ways to ?ght global warming,” said Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico. “In addition, keeping these forests intact will protect New Mexico farmers and ranchers from unfair competition by illegal and unsustainable overseas timber and agriculture operations.”



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Opportunities for U.S. Leadership:
The Importance of Tropical Forests in Climate, Energy and Foreign Policy

The Russell Senate Office Building, Main Caucus Room – SR 325
Wednesday, May 19, 2010 from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m.


I. Opening remarks: A Review of the Agenda: The Importance of U.S. Leadership on Protecting Tropical Forests

  • Welcome by: Jeffrey HorowitzFounder, Avoided Deforestation Partners
  • Special Screening of Video: “Tropical Forests: The Affordable Climate Change Solution” (90 secs.)

II. Perspectives on Forests and Climate: The Role of U.S. Foreign Assistance

  • Hon. Nita Lowey – Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Chairwoman of the House
    State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Hon. Patrick Leahy – Member of the U.S. Senate, Chairman of the Senate State and Foreign
    Appropriations Subcommittee

III. The Importance of U.S. Leadership on Protecting Tropical Forests

  • Hon. Sam BrownbackMember of the U.S. Senate, Member of the Senate State and Foreign
    Appropriations Subcommittee
  • Hon. Tom Udall – Member of the U.S. Senate, Member of the Senate Committee on
    Environment and Public Works

IV. The Urgent Need for Policies to Protect Tropical Forests and our Climate (moderated discussion)

  • Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE – Founder, The Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messenger of Peace
  • Dr. Helene Gayle – President and CEO, CARE USA
  • Carter Roberts – President, World Wildlife Foundation, U.S.
  • Mark Tercek – President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

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