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Seizing the Moment For Environmental Leadership

A key message coming out of the recent election is that millions of Americans want their newly elected Congress and President to address today’s big problems, most of which transcend national borders.

While the economy was the top issue, post-election polls found that more than half of voters support action on global warming. Even more---78 percent---believe clean energy investments can help revitalize the U.S. economy.

As an organization dedicated to solving global environmental issues, and in particular addressing the U.S. role in them, WRI is uniquely positioned to help seize this moment.

But we need your help.

  • The relentless demands of a $60 trillion global economy---even a slowing one---are consuming and degrading ecosystems at an accelerating rate.
  • Every year, the world loses forest land equivalent in size to the state of Alabama.
  • We are already seeing the results of inadequate action on climate change. Around the globe, glaciers and sea ice are shrinking, lakes are drying up, and desertification is expanding.
  • These problems have been exacerbated by our growing appetite for energy and natural resources, and a lack of U.S. leadership. We have a chance to turn things around.

With new momentum for action, your support will enable WRI to provide legislators, their staff, and other influential decision-makers with much needed research and analysis that will be central to advancing clean energy and climate legislation in the new 111th Congress. We also will continue working with leading companies to build markets for cost-competitive green power.

With your support, we will help keep policymakers in the U.S. and around the world focused on ensuring that a new international climate agreement has clear priorities, involves all the major emitters of greenhouse gases, and requires countries to design policies and programs that will turn the agreement into meaningful action.

Deforestation

WRI is working to leverage the Lacey Act and “green” the forest supply chain.

---Jonathan Lash

Another instance where the U.S. is poised to lead and WRI is prepared to assist is around the issue of illegal logging. Congress, through an amendment to a century-old federal law known as the Lacey Act, has banned the trade of any product containing illegally harvested wood. If enforced, it has the potential to send a powerful signal around the world that the U.S. is serious about curtailing illegal logging and its detrimental impacts: deforestation and biodiversity loss.

WRI is working to leverage the Lacey Act and “green” the forest supply chain. Your contribution will help us provide information and assistance to companies and countries seeking to comply with the Act. Your support will enable our forestry team to marry satellite data with maps of protected areas to help identify illegal logging in the Russian Far East, Indonesia, and the Brazilian Amazon, and then report it to the appropriate authorities.

If this all sounds a little "wonkish" to you, I suppose you’re right. Leadership, however, requires a deep understanding of the complexities, the scale of changes necessary, and who to work with in order to bring about change.

The slideshow, below, highlights ten examples of how WRI’s analytical excellence and partnership approach produces economically-sound solutions to seemingly intractable problems. I think you will be impressed by both the international scope of our work and the results we have achieved on a range of issues

[slideshare id=771523&doc=writop10outcomes2008-1227185656769707-9&w=425]

We depend on the philanthropic support of individuals like you who share our sense of urgency and who understand the need for systemic change. I hope you will consider a contribution this year. This request comes at a moment when the economy is putting pressure on all of us, but you can be confident that your support of WRI will make a difference, since eighty-one cents of every dollar donated goes to support program activities.

When President-Elect Obama addressed the world on November 4, he said very simply and eloquently that a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. I look forward to working alongside you to help the U.S. reassert itself as a leader in solving today’s urgent global challenges.

Thank you,

Jonathan Lash
President

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