Thursday, December 30, 2010

Polar Bear Officially Not On the Brink

The status of the Polar Bear under the Endangered Species Act was up for review this past week, and despite campaigning by environmental groups the Polar Bear retained its designation of threatened, instead of being bumped up to endangered.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
The article, Polar bears not endangered, US confirms in the BBC is interesting because it very much takes the view that the ruling is incorrect and that the polar bear should have an endangered ranking. The tone of the article puts a lot of stress on the fact that the Bush administration had the polar bear listed as threatened, and makes a point of saying that the Obama administration is keeping in line with Bush-era policies.

Greenhouse gas emissions and global warming are a big part of the arctic melting that has caused the destruction of polar bear habitat. If the polar bear was listed as an endangered species, the US would have to assess the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on polar bear habitat. The BBC's article explicitly states that environmental groups believe the government doesn't want to have to assess emissions and that is why they didn't bump up the polar bear's status to endangered.

The article doesn't give much voice to the government perspective, or explain what kind of analysis was done to arrive at the conclusion that the polar bear is only threatened. Because of this, the article is one sided and I think takes too biased a point of view. This is surprising from the BBC, because in general I think they do a good job staying balanced in their reporting.

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