Interior Proposes Polar Bear Habitat

David Cassuto

polar_bear_iceA while back, the Bush Administration reluctantly declared the polar bear threatened (under the Endangered Species Act) due to global warming and shrinking habitat.  It determined, however, that it would not use the ESA as the basis to require steps to curtail climate change.  Indeed, the Bushies had no intention of curtailing climate change at all.  The Obama folks agreed that the ESA was the wrong means through which to make climate policy.  Thus, the bear remained threatened and the government remained unwilling to take steps to protect it

Fast forward to this week when the Obama Department of the Interior proposed setting aside 200,000 square miles of arctic habitat for the bear.  This, of course, sounds fabulous.  However, two important caveats remain:

1) The habitat is not to be free of encroachment.  Rather, oil and gas drilling and other activities will continue — they will just require government permission, something Shell received just this week.

2) Unless climate change gets very mitigated very fast, all those square miles of habitat won’t save the bear.

And that brings us to the present.  Scant weeks left until the Copenhagen Climate Summit and the dance of diminishing expectations is in full swing.

Upshot: Better scoot up north and see a bear while you can…

2 Responses

  1. […] Interior Proposes Polar Bear Habitat « Animal Blawg animalblawg.wordpress.com/2009/10/24/interior-proposes-polar-bear-habitat – view page – cached A while back, the Bush Administration reluctantly declared the polar bear threatened (under the Endangered Species Act) due to global warming and shrinking habitat. It determined, however, that it… (Read more)A while back, the Bush Administration reluctantly declared the polar bear threatened (under the Endangered Species Act) due to global warming and shrinking habitat. It determined, however, that it would not use the ESA as the basis to require steps to curtail climate change. Indeed, it had no intention of curtailing climate change at all. The Obama folks agreed that the ESA was the wrong means through which to make climate policy. Thus, the bear remained threatened and the government remained unwilling to take steps to protect it (Read less) — From the page […]

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