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What's with the attitude? It's completely unnecessary for discussion. Have you ever seen Everest? No? Then by your same logic you can't say anything at all about it. Hell, you don't even know it exists. No one person can be an expert in all there is to know.
I get the point you're trying to get across. And while it is certainly foolish to think we are completely responsible for our declining environmental quality, it is equally foolish to make natural processes a scape goat for everything. The more we probe and study our environment, the more we find out the true measure of our effect in the planet. Look up pictures of Los Angeles from the 40's and 50's. Sometimes you could not see across the street because of the smog in the air. Catalytic converters and tougher emission laws came about and guess what? Conditions are astoundingly better.
I am of the opinion that as the most able of the species in the planet, we have the responsibility of not abusing everything around us. In fact, I think we have a certain degree of duty to take care of the environment. If not for a polar bear you'll never see, for the generations of humans that are to follow. And I'm not trying to get the sympathy vote by telling you to "think of the children". Think of yourself... what if generations ago, the industrial world just kept spouting smoke into the air without regulation? What do you think will happen if China and India ramp up their industry without restraint?
I truly don't understand how an educated person can see all the evidence that has been accumulated through years of learning the hard way and having to clean our own mess... and doubt that we have a measurable and detrimental impact on the planet.
LA has a long Hx of smog even before the advent of the IC engine. Its a bowl, it traps smoke, dustand polution.
The attitude is that we have yet another new person with a save the __________ adgenda and that is the only reason they are here. Sharks, whales, dolphins, bears, whatever, so many show up with there own adgenda and just expect everyone to jump on board.
Someone, anyone show me how listing the polar bears will change anything?
BTW china and india have already ramped up there production without restraint.
Let's think about the consequences of this listing (which is proposed at this point, not final).
First, major federal actions will have to go through a consultation process under section 7 of the ESA. In this process, the federal agency conducting the action must consult with NMFS or FWS (depending on the species at issue). If the consulting agency comes back with a biological opinion stating that the action will result in harm to the species, then the action must be modified. If the action will result in what is basically a small level of harm (incidental take in ESA-speak) then the action must be modified to minimize the harm.
The second prong has to do with "take" of a species. "Take" runs from harassing and harming a species to killing it. Under section 11 of the ESA, "take" can be stopped by civil or governmental actions, although case law states that the action must result in forseeable and direct harm to the species.
Let's apply this to the polar bears:
The reasons being stated for their listing is the reduction in sea ice, which is linked to global warming. So, we can see that this is a hook for addressing global warming through the ESA.
But, is it effective? I'd venture to say that this is a dramatically backwards way of addressing the issue. I don't think clamping down on federal activities that contribute greenhouse gases through the application of the ESA is efficient, nor is it well thought out. My gut reaction is that it will result in spending lots of money with little effective results. Unfortunately, if this country wants to effectively address global warming, it must do so through the political process, and I don't think our population is ready to make this a priority, or to make reduction of their carbon use a reality.
The section 7 side of things is probably the big application of this listing if it proceeds. I think it would be interesting if citizens brought suits alleging take because of the "forseeable and direct" requirement of the case law. I do anticipate such suits, but it isn't clear to me that they are clear-cut or that they will result in meaningful benefits to the polar bears.
In fact, that is my pessimistic bottom line as a scientist that has studied glodal climate change and as an attorney. I don't think this will have any meaningful benefit to the species. Although it may bring to light the issues polar bears may be facing, it will not directly address any sea ice loss that is occurring. That, unfortunately, is a much bigger issue, and is one that our country doesn't have the political stomach to face (and the world, for that matter--Kyoto aside--developing countries feel entitled to burn coal and the developed nations do little to encourage otherwise).
Touché, Wildcard. The closest I’ve come to seeing a live polar bear is at the zoo, which is hardly comparable. And this is unfortunately the way most people have seen them, or many of the other creatures we enviros work to protect. Yet people still care about them, and regardless of having actually seen a polar bear, or been to Alaska, would like to see them and their habitat protected. In economic terms, it’s called existence value.
The point in highlighting the bears’ proposed listing was to show that occasionally something good happens in the environmental world. Too often, conservationists focus on what’s wrong, without acknowledging when something turns out right, or at least is heading in a positive direction. It makes for a very dreary outlook. Climate change may well be the biggest environmental challenge we ever face, and finding scientifically, socially and economically viable solutions is a daunting task. Where does one begin?
Perhaps you start with the polar bear. Maybe the government lists it as a threatened species and creates a comprehensive recovery program. Maybe federal agencies will have to take into consideration the impact certain activities will have on polar bears and their habitat. Maybe policies will be enacted to encourage lower emissions, better fuel efficiency, and the development of alternative fuels. Maybe China and India follow suit, per the US’s example. It all depends on the actions our government is willing to take, and what we, the public, urge our government to do.
I for one find the world to be something worth saving. I choose to do it through ocean policy because I want to see great reefs when I dive and polar bears when I eventually visit Alaska. If that means I have a save the oceans agenda, then so be it. You are not expected to jump on board my bandwagon, but you are more than welcome to help.
maybe it will keep additional pressures from piling on, such as protecting their land habitat, hunting bans, etc ...
certainly it will do no harm
The harm I see is the lack of a directed policy on this. The current administration has been backed into this by shewd litigators, and can now say they are "doing something." The problem I have is that the "something" lacks direction, and certainly isn't well thought out. Does anyone think that a solution to global warming will spring from a novel application of a decades-old law? At the same time, this is more ammunition for editorials in the WSJ lamenting another layer of needless and ineffective regulatory burden. The result? Diversion of attention, resources, and limited political capital from forming effective solutions to global warming.
Originally Posted by H2Andy
i think basically it's too late. we've screwed the pooch. just hang on for the crash landing. in the meantime, all we can do is fight a delaying action here and there ... but that's it
There certainly is good evidence to support this. Short of large-scale carbon sequestering (NOW, as in injection in the deep ocean :11 I think we may have some issues moving forward. Our globe is simply too carbon-based and too self-centered to alter the course much . . .