Where it will do most good.

This past May, the polar bear became the first species listed as endangered due to climate change.  As the colder northern habitats shrink, in particular the sea ice that only freezes at very cold temperature and the bear uses to hunt seal and other animals, the chance of survival also shrinks.  But addressing this problem is a big issue.  How do you keep the world colder?  Would a cease-and-desist of all emissions have a strong enough effect at this point?  And what about those who don’t believe the current heating of the earth is a real trend or is cause by human activity?

I know the Bush administration has their own reservations about the climate change issue.  While I don’t personally agree with these reservations, I’m not particularly offended that Bush chooses to try and implement policy in line with these reservations.  part of the office of the President is to make decisions based on your own beliefs and ideas for the good of the nation.  However, I also believe in law as a restriction of government, not a restriction of people.

The proposed overhaul of the Endangered Species Act is such a restriction of government.  Its intent is to  prevent governmental scientists from using climate change as a determinant of the wildlife impact of various projects.  However, according to this article, the actual wording of the act restricts “federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats”.  That’s not all about climate change – there are definitely cases where projects that contribute to global warming have emissions that directly harm wildlife in the vicinity.  In addition, the new rules change the way government agencies are supposed to collaborate with government scientists in general.  It’s about giving Interior Department direct control over its own wildlife impact analysis, rather than in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  That’s not a check-and-balance system: It’s not a restriction of
government at all, really.

While I can understand the increasing financial impact that collaboration is having on many of these projects, and how that impact is more of a burden due to recent US financial troubles, that doesn’t mean immediate financial gain should be our objective.  When money’s tight, the long term becomes even more important.  So let’s get back to the principles America was founded on – freedom and justice.

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