It’s Thursday, January 28, and Biden has pledged to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land by 2030.

During a flurry of climate-focused executive actions yesterday, President Joe Biden promised to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land by 2030. The conservation pledge was part of an executive order that also prioritized environmental justice, halted oil and gas leasing on public land, and curbed fossil fuel subsidies.

Only 12 percent of U.S. lands are currently protected, meaning Biden would have to nearly triple current levels of conservation to meet the target — an area twice the size of Texas. The president also committed to the conservation of 30 percent of U.S. coastal waters. That’s an easier lift, given that 26 percent of these waters are protected at present.

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The 30 percent target stems from an initiative known as 30×30, which more than 50 other countries have joined in order to combat biodiversity loss. In 2019, the U.N. warned that more than 1 million species are at risk of extinction without ambitious conservation action. Yesterday’s pledge is a move in that direction.

“This is a crucial step to stopping the wildlife extinction crisis, which threatens the future of all life on our planet,” Kierán Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a press release. “We’re grateful the Biden administration will address this global crisis.”

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Alexandria Herr


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Zoya Teirstein