Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Polar Bear Listed

If there were a prize for grudging environmentalism, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne would win hands down. On May 14, Kempthorne announced that the polar bear would be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), making it the first animal to be listed due to global warming: As temperatures rise, the Arctic sea ice that is the polar bear's habitat recedes, putting them in danger. Yet Kempthorne emphasized that the listing would in no way be used to force reductions in U.S. carbon emissions — even though the point of the ESA is protect endangered species, and in the polar bear's case, the danger comes from greenhouse gas emissions. But with the polar bear being only the first of countless species that will be endangered by global warming, expect the ESA to become a potent weapon against CO2.