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Friday, March 24, 2006

Global Warming and Polar Bears: One Sound Decision Deserves Another

Peyton Knight sent this over:
At a United Nations meeting in Paris last week, the Bush Administration told the U.N. World Heritage Committee that it should not add new sites to its list of endangered places based on the theory of man-made global warming.

The memo explaining the U.S. position was submitted by Paul Hoffman, who represents the United States on the U.N.'s World Heritage Committee and also serves in the Bush Administration's Interior Department as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

The memo (paid subscription to Environment & Energy required) states:
[T]here currently is not enough data available to distinguish whether climatic changes at the named World Heritage Sites are the result of human-induced climate change or natural variability...

It cannot be demonstrated that global climate change is caused only by man-made greenhouse gas emissions. It also cannot be demonstrated that if all human caused greenhouse gas emissions were eliminated immediately, climate change would be reversed in the foreseeable future. Therefore, it cannot be demonstrated that any threats to sites from climate change are amenable to correction by human action...

There is not unanimity regarding the impacts, causes, and how to or if man can affect the changes we are observing. Even if there were a global consensus on the issues of climate change impacts, causes, and remedies, it is clear that even the most radical mitigations or remedial actions by man, even if taken immediately, would most likely not appreciably alter current climatic trends for decades or longer.
Kudos to the Bush Administration for daring to spell out the facts for U.N. bureaucrats.

However, last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared it would review whether polar bears should be listed under the Endangered Species Act due to the effect global warming might have on the bear's habitat. Should the bear make the list, it could trigger draconian regulations and restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions -- essentially, a backdoor Kyoto Protocol.

The Administration's announcement came several months after three far-left environmental groups filed a lawsuit under the Endangered Species Act, demanding that polar bears be listed under the Act because of the threat of global warming.

If consistency (not to mention common sense) counts for anything, the same sound reasoning employed by the Bush Administration at last week's World Heritage Conference should be applied to its forthcoming decision on the polar bear.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 4:08 PM

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