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Obama Climate Plan Too Weak to Solve Crisis

Smoke stacksPresident Obama finally announced a strategy to tackle climate change, but the plan he offered up on Tuesday simply doesn't cut it -- because it won't reduce carbon dioxide emissions enough to prevent the catastrophic warming and extreme weather predicted by his own federal scientists. One of the provisions the president is touting is a vague directive to the EPA to set carbon pollution standards for new and existing power plants -- but those standards were already required by law.

If Obama is serious about tackling climate change, he needs to set a national cap on carbon pollution, cancel plans for the Keystone XL pipeline, curtail fracking, and institute a rapid, aggressive transition away from dirty fossil fuels to safer, cleaner energy sources. Time is short: Since Obama's election in 2008, we've seen record heat, deadly hurricanes and floods, and historic drought.

"We're happy to see the president finally addressing climate change, but the plain truth is that what he's proposing isn't big enough, and doesn't move fast enough, to match the terrifying magnitude of the climate crisis," said Bill Snape, the Center's senior counsel.

Read more in The Boston Globe.

An Opening to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline -- Take Action

No KeystoneSome good news: In his climate speech Tuesday, President Obama did crack open a door for killing the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline. The president said he won't approve the tar sands pipeline if the net result is that it worsens the climate crisis. It's not a direct rejection of Keystone, but it's certainly a clue to how the pipeline may be defeated.

We know that the planned pipeline from Canada to Texas will dramatically increase our reliance on fossil fuels (that's one way it worsens climate change) and that greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands oil development are significantly higher than those from conventional oil and gas operations (there's another). And one of the world's leading climate scientists, Dr. James Hansen, has already said Keystone would be "game over" for avoiding catastrophic climate change.

So the facts are on our side. Over the coming weeks and months, we've got to push harder than ever to stop this dangerous project and demonstrate its impacts on climate, wildlife, air and water.

Sign our pledge against Keystone XL today, and stay tuned for more on how you can help stop this project in its tracks.

Prevent Mass Wolf Killings -- Give Today

Gray wolf pups from the Wenaha packAmerica's wolves are in dire trouble, and they need your help. The Obama administration's proposal to strip Endangered Species Act protections from nearly all wolves in the lower 48 will pull the plug on 40 years of wolf recovery. And when those protections are gone, adult wolves will be hunted and trapped and their pups will be gassed in their dens.

The Center is mobilizing our lawyers, scientists and activists to stop this deadly proposal. We've won major legal victories before to stop wolf-killing in places like Oregon, and we can do the same now. But we can't go it alone -- we need your help to fight back. The Max and Anna Levinson Foundation has generously offered to provide funds to match the Center's Wolf Defense Fund if our supporters can contribute $90,000 by July 4.

We have to move quickly. Please, take a moment to give today.

180 Groups Want Grijalva to Lead on Key Committee

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.)A broad coalition of 180 groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, sent a letter Monday urging House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to support Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) to be the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Natural Resources (to replace Ed Markey, elected to the Senate on Tuesday). Grijalva, a courageous voice in Congress for wild places and endangered species -- as well as for numerous other causes -- could make a world of difference to endangered species leadership if he had the post.

"For the past two and a half years, the House Republicans have led an all-out attack on the nation's bedrock environmental protection statutes... [I]t is important that the next ranking member represent the core environmental and human rights values of the Democratic Party on the Committee, someone with the passion and commitment to stand up to the radically anti-environmental House Republican agenda," read the letter.

"Congressman Grijalva is a visionary leader with the courage and practical skills to solve the long list of pressing environmental issues our country faces," said Center director Kierán Suckling. "There's no better person for leading the Democrats, as well as moderate Republicans, on the House Natural Resources Committee."

Read the letter in our press release and get more from the Arizona Daily Star.

Airgun Agreement Will Help Whales, Dolphins in Gulf

DolphinAirgun noise used in underwater surveys for oil and gas is dynamite-like, loud enough to mask whale calls over thousands of miles, destroying their capacity to communicate and breed; it has caused whales to go silent, abandoning their habitat and ceasing to forage over large areas of ocean. Used closer to the animals, it can deafen them and hurt them in other ways -- and even kill them.

A coalition of conservation groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, finalized a major settlement last Thursday with the Department of the Interior and the oil and gas industry to protect whales and dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico from these high-intensity blasts. The settlement requires putting biologically important areas off-limits to airguns, expanding protections to additional at-risk species and using listening devices to better ensure surveys don't hurt endangered sperm whales.

Get more from Grist.

We Sent 40,000 Comments to Save Grizzlies -- Thank You

Grizzly bearGrizzly bears are large, powerful, awesome animals -- but in and around Yellowstone National Park, they're also very vulnerable. The feds have proposed a new "recovery" plan -- supposed to be a roadmap toward recovery in the wild -- that would in fact steer the grizzlies in the opposite direction, removing their Endangered Species Act protections altogether. The plan would leave this grizzly population, which is geographically and genetically isolated from all others, without safeguards from numerous threats, including climate change and nonnative species.

To keep these special bears alive in their iconic Yellowstone home, the Center and other groups submitted letters urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to keep protection in place until the grizzlies no longer need it. Center supporters followed suit, sending in 40,000 comments to save the bears.

"This plan would reverse nearly 30 years of hard-fought progress toward restoring Yellowstone's magnificent grizzlies," said Louisa Willcox, a northern Rockies conservationist with the Center. "It would put bears that have been recovering right back in intensive care."

Thank you for speaking out against this proposal. Read more in our press release.

Study: Population Growth Puts More Species on Extinction's Path

Endangered Species CondomsHere's some scary news about how fast our world is growing: A new study from Ohio State University warns that human population growth threatens hundreds of mammal and bird species with extinction inside 40 years.

The scientists warn that the average growing nation should expect about 3 percent more threatened species in the next decade and an increase of 10.8 percent species threatened with extinction by 2050. Researchers said the United States ranks sixth in the world in the number of new species expected to be threatened by 2050 -- and those estimates don't even take into account climate change, industrialization or wars.

"You can do all the conservation in the world that you want, but it's going to be for naught if we don't keep the human population in check," said one researcher.

The Center for Biological Diversity has been highlighting the crucial connection between population growth and the extinction crisis for years. Just last weekend, our Population Director Jerry Karnas was at a rally in Vermont -- handing out our Endangered Species Condoms, of course, and celebrating the Green Mountain State's declining population.

Read more about the population study in Science Daily and get details on the Vermont rally from the Burlington Free Press.

Read the Center's Action-packed Annual Report

Green sea turtleIf you followed our work throughout 2012, you know the year was a doozy -- in fact, it was so momentous we had a hard time cramming all our adventures into one report. But we did -- and now it's hot off the presses (as well as on our website).

2012 was a record-breaker for the Center. We won positive Endangered Species Act decisions for 104 animals and plants -- plus final safeguards for 33 species. We secured 40 million acres of protected habitat, stopped sprawling developments in California, spurred more than 40 cities to join our national campaign demanding climate action, launched new initiatives to save our oceans, distributed 150,000 free Endangered Species Condoms, and engaged our supporters in taking more than 1.5 million actions on behalf of wildlife and our planet. Whew. Thank you for your help.

Read our 2012 annual report to get the details.

Wild & Weird: Hairy Skyscrapers of the Future

Bearded skyscraperIn a world overrun by urban sprawl and dangerous fossil fuels, a team of Swedish architects has hit on a rather woolly plan for converting cityscapes into wind-power producers: hairy skyscrapers.

The firm Belatchew Arkitekter recently proposed adding a fur-like coating of piezoelectric fibers to the Söder Torn highrise -- one of Stockholm's tallest buildings -- which they say can harness energy as the follicles whip about in the wind. The technology, should it ever escape the wild musings of these avant-garde urban planners, could have endless applications. The future is unshaven.

Check out a concept photo of Stockholm's tufted tower at Belatchew Arkitekter and read more at The Huffington Post.

Kierán Suckling
Executive Director

Photo credits: gray wolf courtesy Flickr/Stone Horse Studios; smoke stacks courtesy Flickr/Alex Proimos; No Keystone sign design by Russ McSpadden, Center for Biological Diversity; gray wolf pups from the Wenaha pack courtesy the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife; Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) official staff photo; dolphin courtesy Flickr/Bodhi Surf School; grizzly bear courtesy Flickr/Princess Lodges; Endangered Species Condoms design (c) Lori Lieber and artwork (c) Roger Peet; green sea turtle courtesy Wikimedia Commons/Goncalo Veiga; bearded skyscraper photo illustration by Jessica Herrera, Center for Biological Diversity with images courtesy Flickr/Ryan McFarland and EJP Photo.

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Center for Biological Diversity

P.O. Box 710

Tucson, AZ 85702