Thursday, May 15, 2008

Protecting polar bears, but not too much

On the face off it, this is a story I certainly didn’t expect to read:
WASHINGTON - The Interior Department declared the polar bear a threatened species Wednesday because of the loss of Arctic sea ice…
However, that same articles said:
The department outlined a set of administrative actions and limits to how it planned to protect the bear with its new status so that it would not have wide-ranging adverse impact on economic activities from building power plants to oil and gas exploration. [emphasis added]
In other words, the Bush-Cheney regime is just pretending to act, issuing a declaration just to make people think they actually care about climate change.

Even so, it's a significant shift in rhetoric. The article reported that at the press conference announcing the move, the Interior Secretary…
was armed with slides and charts showing the dramatic decline in sea ice over the last 30 years and projections that the melting of ice—a key habitat for the bear—would continue and may even quicken… He cited conclusions by department scientists that sea ice loss will likely result in two-thirds of the polar bears disappearing by mid-century.
Last year, a British judge lampooned the idea that polar bears were dying, a theme that was picked up by the right wing media, even here in New Zealand. To have the current champions of right wing ideology acknowledge the inconvenient truth is a kind of progress. Too bad the Bush-Cheney regime isn’t serious about doing anything about it.

No comments: