March 1, 2013 |
SEATTLE - The federal law listing polar bears as a threatened species was upheld Friday by a federal appeals court, which rejected arguments that it is wrong to impose far-ranging and possibly costly protections for a species that remains fairly abundant in many regions of the Arctic. Concluding that attacks on the listing “amount to nothing more than competing views on policy and science,” the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2008 decision to protect the animals because the dramatic loss of sea ice leaves them likely to become in danger of extinction.
December 28, 2012 |
First came the polar bear. Now, the federal government has added two other marine mammals to the list of creatures threatened with extinction because of vanishing sea ice in a warming Arctic. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has officially listed bearded seal and the ringed seal as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The reason is not inadequate supplies of fish and other food for these seals, or excessive hunting by humans. It's the loss of their sea ice habitat.
December 5, 2012 |
A fast-changing Arctic broke records for loss of sea ice and spring snow cover this year, as well as summertime melt of the Greenland ice sheet, federal scientists reported Wednesday. “The Arctic is an extremely sensitive part of the world,” said Jane Lubchenco , administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As it warms, she said, “we see the results with less snow and sea ice, greater ice sheet melt and changing vegetation.” Speaking at the fall meeting of American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, Lubchenco and other scientists unveiled the annual update of the Arctic Report Card , a collaboration of more than 140 scientists that summarizes ways the Arctic continues to grow warmer and greener.
December 5, 2012 |
A fast-changing Arctic broke new records for loss of sea ice and spring snow cover this year, as well as the extent of the summertime melt of the Greenland ice sheet, federal scientists reported Wednesday. The latest report about the melting Arctic comes as frustrations flared in Doha, Qatar, over the slow progress at United Nations climate talks to reach a global agreement on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. The buildup of the gases is elevating average global temperatures, with the most pronounced changes in the northernmost latitudes.
November 28, 2012 |
If the prospect of coastal cities sinking into the sea 100 years from now does not motivate Americans to do something dramatic to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, there is something happening at this very moment that should be setting off sirens. Rising CO2 levels are making the oceans more acidic and that change in the chemistry of the seas is disrupting the food chain that ends with you and me. For years, as scientists watched the carbon emissions from our tailpipes and smokestacks spew into the sky and goose temperatures higher, there was one mitigating factor that was keeping a brake on global warming: The oceans were absorbing a whole lot of that CO2. Now, though, it turns out that is not such a blessing.
October 5, 2012 |
Faced with growing concerns about the hunting of polar bears in Canada, the Obama administration announced Friday it will again support a ban on the commercial trade of polar bears, whose hides fetch up to $16,000 each on the international market. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a position paper that advocates including the polar bear on the list of species that are subject to the most stringent constraints on international trade. The effect of such a move, if adopted by the 176-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora when it meets in March, would be to prohibit the sale of polar bear furs, claws, teeth and other body parts outside of Canada. Hunts by aboriginal Inuits in Alaska and other polar states would still be allowed, but outside sale of the pelts would not. This post has been updated as indicated below [Updated 5:38 p.m., Oct. 5, 2012: “Certain types of items, such as hunting trophies, live animals for zoological parks, and specimens for scientific research are generally considered by CITES to be primarily non-commercial,” the Fish and Wildlife Service said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times.