the Disillusioned kid: Polar bears: not as cool as they initially seem
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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Polar bears: not as cool as they initially seem

Way back in the depths of time - in mind-December last year, I wrote about emerging evidence that rising global temperatures were bad news for polar bears. Bad news, not in the sense that they'd look out of place if somebody relaunched the Arctic as a beachside holiday resort, but rather because the melting of their icy habitat was leaving many of them distinctly dead.

Turns out (via) that the Bush Administration, fresh from discovering the US's "addiction to oil," has announced a review of whether the bears should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. In itself this is a good thing, particularly if your a polar bear, but there are ramifications even for those of us who don't have white fur and a taste for raw seal.

The review follows a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity which warned that polar bears could be extnict by the end of the century as a result of rising temperatures and its inevitable effects on the large body of frozen water they call home. Kassie Siegel, the petition's lead author averred, "I think it’s a very important acknowledgment that global warming is transforming the Arctic and threatening polar bears with extinction." The upshot of which is that "we don't have uncertainty in the science any more. That's a precedent we need for federal decision-making."

Is the Bush Administration and the US government finally waking up to the consequences of global warming? We can only hope. Even if it is, this does not neccesarily guarantee effective action. Tony Blair has done an impressive job of posing green on the issue while pursuing cororation-friendly policies likely to have at best limited impact. Nevertheless, this should be considered a small success in a bigger, ongoing struggle.

Update 9/2/06: The shiny, spangly updatified NewStandard has the craic. Best place to start if you wanna find out what's going down. Check it y'all.

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