Apr 22, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Pompeo calls on China to close wildlife wet markets in Earth Day message

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China and other countries to shut down the buying and selling of live wildlife in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, calling it "a move that would reduce risks to human health."

Why it matters: A wet market in Wuhan, China, is likely the original source of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 179,000 people around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

  • China’s National People’s Congress banned the sale and consumption of wild animals in the country in February, but also offered a rebate on the export of animal products, such as edible snakes and turtles, primate meat, beaver and civet musk, and rhino horns.

The big picture: Pompeo praised the United States "as a world leader in promoting clean water and air, conserving natural resources, and protecting nature while driving economic growth," but did not once mention climate change in his statement.

  • The Trump administration in recent weeks weakened mercury emission regulations and plans to remove Clean Water Act protections for some wetlands, streams and marshes around the country.
  • The administration in 2019 rolled back major environmental regulations, including restrictions on methane leaks, aspects of the Endangered Species Act and federal emissions standards for coal-fired energy plants.

What they're saying: "The United States will continue to partner internationally to leave a better America and a better world for future generations," Pompeo said.

  • "The United States is also a world leader in providing clean and affordable energy to our citizens and providing secure energy to other countries, thanks to our private sector."

Go deeper: 2020 could be the warmest year on record

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