Right Thinking From The Left Coast
If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough. - Mario Andretti

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Latest on Polar Bears

It may surprise you, given my acceptance of AGW science, but I actually agree with this decision:

The Obama administration is sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision to deny polar bears endangered species status.

In a court filing Wednesday, the Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for stronger protections under the Endangered Species Act.

FWS Director Rowan Gould said the 2008 “threatened” listing was made “following careful analysis of the best scientific information, as required by the ESA.”

The reason this decision is justified is because the danger to polar bears from ice melt is, at this stage, theoretical.  The polar bear population is stable and, as Lomborg has pointed out, the greatest menace the polar bears face right now is hunting, not glacier melt.  It’s also not clear that polar bears won’t adapt to rising temperatures.  And it’s even more unclear that we could do anything about it, even if global warming were endangering the polar bears.  Even if we stopped all CO2 emissions today, glacier melt would go on for another fifty years.

As the politico article notes, the real motive here was to try to regulate greenhouse gases through the backdoor via the Endangered Species Act.  That’s precisely the sort of sneaky approach that needs to be avoided.  Good for the Obama Administration on this.  It will further enrage the Democrat base (said base still not happy with a massive healthcare expansion, financial regulation, Stimulus IV, DADT repeal and START) but it’s the right thing.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 12/24/10 at 07:43 AM in Science and Technology  • (0) TrackbacksPermalink
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