Azara Blog: Polar bear listed as threatened species by US

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Date published: 2008/05/15

The BBC says:

The United States has listed the polar bear as a threatened species, because its Arctic sea ice habitat is melting due to climate change.

US government scientists predict that two-thirds of the polar bear population of 25,000 could disappear by 2050.

However, the government stressed the listing would not lead to measures to prevent global warming.

Environmentalists have expressed disappointment that more will not be done to protect the bear's habitat.

US Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne said the government had made the decision on the advice of scientists, but he suggested the impact of the move would be limited.

"While the legal standards under the Endangered Species Act compel me to list the polar bear as threatened," he said, "I want to make clear that this listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting."

The polar bear could be made the poster child of global warming, but Kempthorne is probably correct that the listing will do little to save the polar bear. Of course some so-called environmentalists will probably use this listing to try and get some court somewhere to rule that the world should be shut down, but they are unlikely to succeed in this endeavour (even if the court rules it, the world will not shut down).

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