Climate Week NYC

September 17–24, 2023

At WCS, our representation at the United Nations General Assembly and New York Climate Week underscores our dedication to solving global issues. Nature has a pivotal role to play in addressing the climate, biodiversity, and health crises.


We Reap What We Subsidize on Climate

By Monica Medina and Daniel Zarin

Last year, direct public subsidies that promote fossil fuel production and consumption jumped to $1.4 trillion in the G-20 countries alone. Is it any wonder, ask WCS's Monica Medina and Daniel Zarin in the Daily News, that the oil majors are backing away from their prior commitments to accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels in response to the climate crises?

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Announcing a New Direct Access Fund for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Protecting Forests in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Photo Credit: ©Alexis Huguet/Regnskogfondet

Indigenous Peoples and local communities receive less than 1% of biodiversity and climate finance despite being one of the most effective stewards of conservation.

Their access must be increased.

Today, we are joining efforts with Rainforest Foundation Norway to launch the first-ever direct access fund for Indigenous Peoples and local communities protecting forests in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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New Study Shows Conservation Benefits Beyond Protected Areas

Photo Credit: ©Emily Darling/WCS

Protected areas are a known cornerstone of biodiversity conservation. A new WCS-led study shows some of the first evidence for coastal marine ecosystems that other types of managed areas can help meet the global 30x30 target adopted by governments.

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More Hope for Coral Reefs in a Warming World

Photo Credit: ©Renata Romeo/Unsplash

New evidence shows that more coral reefs than were previously thought are avoiding climate change damage in rare ocean 'cool spots' due to evolved adaptations, and recovering from climate change in record time after damaging weather events.

Said WCS's Emily Darling: “As the world races to protect 30 percent of the planet by 2030, it will be critical to conserve a connected network of climate resilient coral reefs as a global plan for coral reef biodiversity that supports over half a billion people on the frontlines of climate change. This study lays out the science we need to identify this important blueprint for conservation.”

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Nature is a Climate Solution

We must urgently transition off fossil fuels and protect nature to tackle the world's global, WCS President and CEO Monica Medina told WCBS from the Central Park Zoo. "One third of all the carbon solutions that we need are here in nature. It's trees."

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The New York Times

The Importance of Protecting Ocean Life

"The ocean provides half the oxygen that we breathe," WCS's Monica Medina told The New York Times, "it's a huge source of food, and it connects everyone and everything on the planet." The High Seas Treaty would protect ocean biodiversity and more.

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Photo Credit: ©Anastasia Taioglou/Unsplash

Coral Reefs

Hope Underwater

There are more ways for coral to survive climate change than experts previously thought. New WCS science can help us find and protect those climate-resilient reefs.

Dive into the new storymap, Hope Underwater.

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Take Action

Support the U.S. Foundation for International Conservation Act

USFICA is critical for the enduring success of conservation programs. If you're in the U.S., help move it forward by urging your Members of Congress to support it right away.

Act Now


WCS Wild Audio Climate Week Series


In anticipation of New York Climate Week taking place later this month during the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, WCS Wild Audio presents the first in a 3-part series exploring bold approaches to the growing climate crisis. For Part 1, we look at why maintaining the ecological integrity of forests is so important and what can be done both to avoid further degradation and restore what’s been lost. Reporting: Nat Moss; Guests: Tom Evans, Kemen Austin


The most important thing we can do to address climate change is reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting intact nature can also be a big part of the solution. But let’s say we do those things and we manage to constrain climate change. What type of world will be left for us to live in, if we don't intentionally change our conservation strategies now? That’s where climate adaptation has a part to play. Reporting: Dan Rosen; Guests: Liz Tully, Paul Elsen

Part 3: Investing in At-Risk Forests with the REDD+ Framework

WCS Executive Director of Markets, Todd Stevens, wants to find sustainable, financially viable incentives for protecting nature. Linking field-based conservation to private sector funding under the REDD+ framework, his goal is to use capital to ensure positive, environmentally friendly economic development in and around conservation sites.

This model rewards restoration and protection of the environment, ultimately linking healthy ecosystems to healthy economies. At the heart of this markets-based approach, says Todd, lie at-risk forests, which absorb harmful Co2 emissions. Hannah Kaplan has the story. Reporting: Hannah Kaplan; Guest: Todd Stevens


Nature Positive Hub

Listen to events from the Hub, which aims to bring to life the momentum, action, and impact that surrounds Nature Positive – the global goal to immediately halt and reverse nature loss by 2030.

Delivering integrity in the VCM: Developments in project REDD+ towards high quality forest carbon crediting

Moderated by Kevin Brown — Forest Carbon Technical Advisor, WCS
Julianne Baroody — Senior Director of Forest Carbon Innovation, Verra
Joshua Tosteson — President, Everland
David Shoch — Forestry Director, TerraCarbon
Deborah Lawrence — Chief Science Officer, Calyx Global
Erin Sills — Head of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, NC State University

Biodiversity Credits: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Financing Biodiversity Conservation

Moderated by Ray Victurine — Director of Business & Conservation, WCS
Mariana Sarmiento — CEO, Terrassos
Akanksha Khatri — Head of Nature & Biodiversity, World Economic Forum
Michael McGreevey — Director of Conservation Investments, Conservation International
Sinclair Vincent — Director of Sustainable Development Innovation and Markets, Verra
Andrew Deutz — Managing Director, Global Policy & Conservation Finance, TNC
Hania Othman — Biodiversity Credit Alliance
Mark Tracy — Co-Founder and Chairman, Earthacre

Scaling REDD+: How can the VCM support countries to achieve ambitious climate action through REDD+ and meet sustainable development goals

Moderated by Dr. Sarah M Walker—REDD+ Director, WCS
Roselyn Adjei — National REDD+ Focal Point, Government of Ghana
Pradeepa Bholonath — Senior Climate Director, Guyana Ministry of Natural Resources
Derrick John — Chair, National Toshaos Council of Guyana
Fermin Chimatani — President, ANECAP – Peru’s National Association of Executors of the Communal Reserves Administration Contract
Jorge Rodriguez Zúñiga — General Director, FONAFIFO – National Forest Financing Fund, Costa Rica
Daniel Ortega-Pacheco — Director of BIOCARBON and Co-Chair of the Expert Panel of the IC-VCM – Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market
Beto Borges — Director of Communities and Territorial Governance Initiative, Forest Trends
Joshua Tosteson — President, Everland

WCS Impact

  • Nature isn't just part of the solution; it's THE critical climate solution. Protecting nature is key to addressing the climate, biodiversity, and health crises.
  • High-integrity forests play a key role in mitigating the climate and biodiversity crises. WCS supports approximately 6% of the world's forest cover in the landscapes where we operate.
  • Nature-based solutions provide 30% of the climate action we need by 2030, primarily from forests. But they get only 8% of climate finance. WCS is mobilizing innovative finance to be able to deliver on 30x30.
  • Forest restoration is crucial to limit global warming to 1.5°C. But it's not just about re-establishing cleared areas. A WCS new study reveals there's an area almost the size of Russia—1.5 billion hectares—of degraded forests that could be restored.
  • Indigenous Peoples and local communities receive less than 1% of biodiversity and climate finance despite being among the most effective stewards of conservation. Their access to this funding must be increased. WCS partners with 205+ Indigenous Peoples and 2,000+ local communities across the globe to ensure equitable, just, and durable conservation.
  • As one of the largest conservation organizations globally, with headquarters in NYC, WCS reaches 3.5+ million people annually through our zoos and aquariums, raising awareness about climate and biodiversity crises and mentoring the next generation of nature’s guardians.
  • With the largest and longest field conservation program in the world, WCS has over 3,500 staff, 90% are national citizens, working on the frontlines to address the climate crises.

2023 WCS Impact Report

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