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*Update* 3:30 p.m. Wednesday
I just finished watching the streaming video from the Department of Interior. I now have a lot of reading to do but I will say this. The closing remarks that Sec. Kempthorne made about reaching this decision seemed to me to show just how much he doesn’t understand the possible ramifications of his decision.
He said that people have said that listing the polar bear would create a way to force the reduction of greenhouse gases and he said that this act, assuming he meant the Endangered Species Act and the Department’s decision to list the polar bear, is not a means to achieve forced reduction of greenhouse gases.
If he really believes that, I have to believe he has been hiding under a rock for the past decade or so. This request to list the bear is completely an act to force the reduction of greenhouses gases and he has to know that. It has been the entire foundation of the request to list the bear.
The other thing he said which made my hair stand on end had to do with him sharing how difficult it was to render this decision. He said that this decision had to be based solely on scientific evidence and that they couldn’t consider economic issues as part of the decision, nor could they somehow project into the future what negative influences this decision could have on our economy and need for energy.
I find this hypocritical and disingenuous when you consider that in order for the DOI to reach this decision, it had to be based on projecting into the future what might happen with our climate. Perhaps this is another part of what is wrong with the administering of the ESA. If now, with this ruling, we can request the listing of protection of species of animals based on models that might predict our future climate, maybe it would be a good idea to incorporate the use of models to predict our future economy.
Whether officials at USFWS want to admit it or not, they have just set a precedent that sets the stage for the possibility of listing any number of other species based on projected climate changes.
Kempthorne tried to tap dance around the fact that global warming wasn’t the driving force behind the decision. He said it was overwhelmingly the loss of habitat – i.e. sea ice due to melting. Hello? So what melted the sea ice? Too much hot air in Washington?
*Update* 3:50 p.m. Wednesday May 14, 2008
â€œWhile the legal standards under the ESA compel me to list the polar bear as threatened, I want to make clear that this listing will not stop global climate change or prevent any sea ice from melting. Any real solution requires action by all major economies for it to be effective. That is why I am taking administrative and regulatory action to make certain the ESA isnâ€™t abused to make global warming policies.â€
How do you make a ruling based on the theory of global warming, deny that it’s not global warming driving your decision and then say the only way we can save the polar bear is if everyone does what they can to stop melting sea ice?
*Update* 4:20 p.m. Wednesday May 14, 2008
*Update* 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Hugh Hewitt reminds us all once again why listing the polar bear under the ESA will affect us all.