Executive orders signed this week by President Biden to rejoin the Paris climate agreement, halt the Keystone XL pipeline, limit oil and gas production, and prioritize efforts to combat global climate will help protect the environment and societal impacts, but also economic recovery, says Virginia Tech expert Carol Franco, a senior research associate in the College of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.

Quoting Franco

“The executive order of President Biden on protecting the environment and the restoration of science to tackle climate change is crucial,” says Franco. “It’s a clear signal of the commitment of the U.S. with the American people and the world.”

Franco says that during the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda, over 70 environmental rules and regulations were rolled back or revoked. Among the most important, are the ones related to climate change and the Paris Agreement, clean air and water, drilling and extraction, biodiversity, infrastructure and planning, among others.

“Climate change is a growing global threat, with complex environmental and societal impacts,” says Franco. “Some of the well-known environmental impacts include increases in average temperature, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea level, and the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.”

“It’s is also impacting human wellbeing by furthering food and water scarcity, coastal and inland flooding, vector disease outbreaks, and loss of livelihoods,” says Franco. “The combination of these threats are considered to be a critical challenge to sustainability.”

“Now is a critical time and a great opportunity for the U.S. to focus again on climate change and environmental protection since many countries are putting forward their economic recovery plans after the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Franco. “Many of the economic recovery plans being put forward are green, sustainable, and climate resilient.”

“It’s important to remember that the world as a whole will suffer the impacts of climate change and many countries can already attest to this.”

About Franco

Carol Franco is a senior research associate in the College of Natural Resources and Environment’s Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech. Her research efforts focus on ecological economics, ecosystem services, climate change impacts, climate change adaptation and mitigation policies, and transdisciplinary approaches. More here.   

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