New Web Site Details 350 Species Threatened by Global Warming
The Center for Biological Diversity launched a massive new interactive Web site today providing accounts of 350 plants and animals threatened by global warming. If we don't strengthen the U.S. climate change bill to require deeper, faster cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, we won't succeed in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million, dooming these 350 species and many, many more to extinction.
From tiny ocean pteropods to grizzly bears, wetland plants, noble jaguars . . . and humans, the planet's plants and animals need your help to stop global warming. Saturday is the International Day of Climate Action, so it's a good time to speak out.
Go to 350 Reasons We Need to Get to 350 today. Check out the species via our interactive regional map and learn how you can take action to save them. People all over the country have already joined our 350 campaign by sending in photos of themselves (or their kids) with a species that needs saving from climate change. We're posting your photos on the site, and when they're all compiled, they'll help us spread the 350 message all the way to Copenhagen, the site of the upcoming December climate talks.
You can also take action today by telling the White House why we need to get to 350 -- soon -- and how we need to do it.
Check out our new 350 Reasons Web site and take action.
Big Win for Polar Bear: 128 Million Acres Slated for Habitat Protection
Thanks to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to safeguard more than 128 million acres of habitat for the polar bear -- the largest area ever designated as federally protected "critical habitat." The proposal is a great step toward protecting the great white bear; designating critical habitat will prohibit federal agencies from any activities that would harm the animal on all 128 million acres. Species with federally protected habitat have been found more than twice as likely to be recovering than those without. And the bear needs the best odds it can get -- especially because the habitat proposal comes the same week that the Obama administration approved oil-drilling plans in the bear's habitat in the Beaufort Sea.
The administration has until June 30, 2010 to finalize habitat protection.
Read more in The New York Times.
Do Freedom-loving Americans Hate Jaguars?
As if its bumbling, possibly criminal actions that culminated in the killing of the last known U.S. jaguar weren't controversial enough, the Arizona Game and Fish Department this week justified its efforts to prevent federal protection of jaguars by saying that "any freedom-loving American" would oppose regulations to protect North America's largest and most endangered cat.
And in response to Center for Biological Diversity complaints that 12 years of state leadership have accomplished nothing to protect jaguars or their habitat in the United States, the agency countered that its efforts actually "focus too much on jaguars." Go figure.
With a membership and staff composed of freedom-lovers (who do not neglect jaguar liberty), the Center has sued the Arizona Game and Fish Department to stop it from capturing or killing any more jaguars. A previous Center suit won a court order overturning the Bush administration's refusal to establish those pesky recovery plans and habitat protections that Game and Fish find so objectionable. The Obama administration has appealed the ruling, but we're confident that freedom-loving judges are not about to consign the American jaguar to extinction.
Read more in the Arizona Daily Star.
Protection Sought for 83 U.S. Corals
Defending scores of the world's most imperiled coral species from global warming and ocean acidification -- which threaten all corals with worldwide extinction -- this Tuesday the Center for Biological Diversity filed a scientific petition to protect 83 corals under the Endangered Species Act. The corals, which occur in U.S. waters from Florida to the Caribbean to Hawaii, are among the species most threatened by climate change.
Corals are facing the double danger of warming ocean temperatures -- which cause mass bleaching events and die-offs -- and ocean acidification, which robs them of their ability to build skeletons. Scientists have warned that coral reefs will probably be the first worldwide ecosystems to collapse under global warming; all the world's reefs could be destroyed by 2050.
Thanks to an earlier petition and litigation by the Center, two coral species -- elkhorn and staghorn coral -- became the first species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act due to global warming.
Read more in the Los Angeles Times.
Shrew Habitat Protections to Expand 55-fold
Responding to a Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit battling corrupt endangered species science, this Tuesday the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed a greatly expanded area of protected habitat for the Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew. The highly endangered, highly intriguing shrew is now found in only four locations in central California. Almost all of its former habitat has been damaged by agribusiness and development.
Though the shrew's survival depends on substantial habitat protections, in 2005 the Bush administration ignored science showing the species' needs and protected a paltry and fragmented 84 acres. The Service's new proposal is a true improvement for the shrew, acknowledging that the species needs 55 times more acreage than has been protected since 2005 -- a total 4,649 acres of habitat.
The Center's successful suit for the shrew is part of our larger effort to undo politically polluted endangered species decisions made under Bush, covering 52 species. So far, the Obama administration has agreed to trash most of those bad decisions.
Read more in the Central Valley Business Times.
Obama Says Tough Luck to Imperiled Seal
Thanks to an unsound Obama administration decision last Thursday, the Arctic's imperiled spotted seal could soon slip into oblivion along with its melting sea-ice habitat. In response to a Center for Biological Diversity petition and lawsuit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration decided not to protect the seal under the Endangered Species Act -- even though the beautiful mammal could lose 40 percent of its main icy winter habitat to warming by 2050. In addition to loss of sea ice, spotted seals are threatened by increased oil and gas drilling: The Obama administration is now pondering proceeding on a Bush-era plan to expand offshore oil and gas development in spotted seal habitat.
The administration did propose protecting spotted seals in China's Liadong Bay and Russia's Great Bay -- but that's little consolation when more than 98 percent of the seals inhabiting both Russian and U.S. waters have been left adrift. The Center is already challenging the decision that denied protection to the ribbon seal.
Read more in The New York Times.
EPA on Mountaintop Removal: One Down, One to Blow
Last Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency revoked a permit for the largest mountaintop-removal mine in Appalachia, taking the first step toward vetoing it. The Spruce Mine would have buried more than seven miles of streams and annihilated 2,300 acres of hardwood forest. This is the EPA's first-ever revocation of an already issued permit.
But don't celebrate just yet. The EPA said the Spruce Mine represented unusual circumstances -- and the agency doesn't expect to veto other projects. And the very day before it revoked the Spruce permit, the EPA cut a deal with a coal company that will expand another of Appalachia's largest mountaintop-removal mines. The EPA is under tremendous political pressure from politicians in the pocket of Big Coal, who are already demanding that the Spruce Mine be allowed to move forward. The agency has caved to these same politicians before; in March, it retracted a statement that mountaintop-removal permits would be put on hold -- just 24 hours after the statement was made.
Get more from this Charleston Gazette blogger and take action now by telling the EPA to ban mountaintop-removal coal mining.
Logging Threatens Goshawk, Old Growth, 26,000 Acres
This Tuesday, the Center for Biological Diversity sharply criticized the U.S. Forest Service's latest take on devastating plans to log old-growth trees in the Kaibab National Forest. Unfortunately for the forest -- which houses the country's largest breeding population of the imperiled northern goshawk -- the Forest Service has issued a new environmental assessment for the controversial Jacob Ryan timber sale, which would log 26,000 acres but was halted in May thanks to work by the Center and Sierra Club. The new assessment drops protections for old-growth trees, essentially stating that the Kaibab Plateau has too much old growth -- so axing those irksome old, large trees will be good for wildlife.
This marks the Forest Service's fourth attempt to move forward with Jacob Ryan, and the Center will work to make sure it's the last.
Check out our press release and learn more about our campaigns for forests and goshawks.
Bear Goes on Beer Run in Wisconsin
Small-town grocery shoppers were treated to quite a scene last Thursday when a black bear ambled into a Wisconsin grocery store and headed straight for the liquor department. The 125-pound, five-foot-tall bear climbed up 12 feet onto a shelf in the beer cooler, where it sat for about an hour as human customers evacuated and wildlife officials convened. Eventually, the bear was tranquilized and removed -- and it hadn't had a sip of booze. Store workers say it seemed content to just chill with the beer. And it caused no damage, leaving nothing but a wet bear-nose print on the beer cooler's glass door.
Get more from ABC15.com and check out this video of the scene.
Bid With Your Lid for the Center
This fall, through its Profits for the Planet Program, eco-savvy organic yogurt company Stonyfield Farm will donate a portion of $100,000 to the Center for Biological Diversity, based on the number of votes we get from people across the country. In October, Stonyfield yogurt lids will display a message about the Center and two other nonprofits; every time you lick the lid of a Stonyfield yogurt cup, you can read about the Center and our co-competitors, then vote with a simple click or use the codes from your yogurt lids to cast multiple votes for one of us -- and ahem, we hope that's the Center. Voting ends December 15, 2009.
Bid here now.
Photo credits: polar bear (c) Larry Master/masterimages.com; 350 species mosaic; polar bear by Pete Spruance; jaguar (c) Robin Silver; Montipora flabellata (c) Keoki Stender; Buena Vista Lake ornate shrew courtesy USFWS; spotted seal by Ensign Carl Rhodes, NOAA; mountaintop removal site courtesy Wikimedia Commons/JW Randolph; northern goshawk courtesy USFWS; black bear (c) Robin Silver; logo courtesy Stonyfield Farm.
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