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Our Expert Voices conversation on de-extinction.

Given the worsening biodiversity crisis and severely limited resources for reversing it, we need to act quickly and effectively. De-extinction is not the answer.

The cost: For the money it would cost to bring one species back from extinction and support it in the wild, we could save dozens more species from going extinct. Spending millions on resurrecting one species is a decision not spend it on living threatened species, and allow them to go extinct.

The real risk: Although some have legitimately suggested that we need to be careful introducing genetically-modified facsimiles of long-dead species into the wild, the greatest risk of de-extinction actually lies in wasted effort. Most of the species being mentioned as de-extinction candidates have either lost their habitat forever or would be subject to the same threats that drove them extinct in the first place.

For many conservation issues, we know what we need to do. Eastern forests are threatened by habitat loss and invasive species, not a lack of passenger pigeons. The Arctic is threatened by climate change, and introducing mammoths will not solve this.

Bottom line: De-extinction is a fascinating concept, but in its current form it is not an effective conservation tool.

Other voices in the conversation:

Molly Hardesty-Moore, ecologist, University of California, Santa Barbara: Don't forget an extinct creature's ecology

Ben J. Novak, biologist, The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback: De-extinction is like any other conservation program

Alejandro Camacho, legal scholar, University of California, Irvine: Wildlife laws aren't ready for the return of extinct species

John Hawks, paleoanthropologist, University of Wisconsin-Madison: Bringing back Neanderthals

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.