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Polar bear finally listed as a "threatened" species

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History was made today when the U.S. Department of Interior formally listed the polar bear as a "threatened" species.

The decision came in response to the Center for Biological Diversity's 2005 scientific petition and two subsequent lawsuits filed by the Center and its allies.

It also came in response to your pleas to save the polar bear. More than 100,000 of the Center's supporters signed petitions urging the Bush administration to protect the polar bear.

Thank you. This outpouring of political pressure was invaluable.

Bush Still Hiding from Global Warming

Today's decision was bizarrely schizophrenic in that the administration simultaneously enacted policies to prevent the polar bear's listing from affecting runaway greenhouse gas emissions.

- The administration should have listed the polar bear as "endangered" rather than "threatened." An endangered listing would require a stronger protective standard.

- The administration refused to designate and protect the polar bear's habitat as "critical habitat." The overwhelming threat to polar bears is the melting of Arctic sea ice. It is absolutely essential that this habitat is itself protected if we expect to save the bear.

- The listing decision includes a "special rule" and a declaration that greenhouse gas emissions can't and shouldn't be limited by the Endangered Species Act. This poison pill attempts to completely undermine the entire point of the polar bear's listing: to reign in the primary actions driving the species extinct.

Back to Court

The Center for Biological Diversity will not let these atrocious policies stand. We've repeatedly beat the administration in court over the past three years and we'll do so again.

We and our allies at the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace will soon haul the Bush administration back to court to ensure that the polar bear and its habitat are fully protected.

I'll keep you updated in the coming weeks about our progress.

Thanks again for your help, and don't let the administration's futile efforts to undermine the Endangered Species Act get you down. This is a watershed moment in the global battle to combat global warming. Give yourself a pat on the back for helping to make it happen.

Sincerely,

Kieran Suckling

Executive Director

************

The U.S. Department of the Interior has listed the polar bear as a

threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, which gives the

bear important new protections. More than 16,000 WWF supporters spoke

out for this icon of the North. Thank you!

WWF also thanks the 22,000 activists who opposed the sale of oil and

gas leases in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, within prime polar bear

habitat. Unfortunately, despite an outpouring of public opposition,

the Minerals Management Service recently opened nearly 30 million

acres of the Chukchi Sea to oil and gas exploration. Because of the

polar bear's new threatened status, however, MMS

will need to ensure that its actions do not jeopardize the polar

bear's continued existence.

The polar bear was listed due to the threat from climate

change-induced loss of its sea ice habitat. Based on current ice

models and projections for polar bear populations, experts believe

that two-thirds of the world's polar bear population may be lost by

2050. While the Endangered Species Act listing is an important step

forward, urgent additional action is needed by governments and

societies to reduce our carbon footprint.

Please forward this update to your friends and family and urge them to

get involved as WWF activists. We are counting on your continued

support as a part of our team. Thank you again.

http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/R?i=LY2flsK66RYB3ufN3dOLEA..

Sincerely,

Margaret Williams

Priority Leader,

Bering Sea and Kamchatka

World Wildlife Fund

****************

It's taken several years, lawsuits, and thousands of letters from you, but the Bush Administration finally listed the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act today. I'd love to tell you that that's great news, but there's a BIG catch. The Administration listed the polar bear as threatened instead of endangered, and invoked a clause (known as a "4(d) exemption") that excludes global warming from the list of threats the federal government has to consider when trying to protect polar bear habitat.

Global warming is the biggest threat facing polar bears today, and this little clause eliminates any protection the listing should have given to the polar bear. In fact, global warming is the very reason we sued the Administration for protection of the polar bear in the first place.

So who's really being protected here? Polar bears or the oil industry?

The listing specifically says that federal agencies don't need to consider the impact of global warming pollution on the polar bear. But there's more: the listing also proposes a separate regulation that reduces the protections the polar bear would otherwise receive under the Endangered Species Act.

Meanwhile, in the months leading up to this weak decision, the Administration conveniently sold oil leases in prime polar bear habitat off Alaska's northwest coast.

Are you starting to get the picture here? Well, if your temperature is rising like mine is, there are a couple of things I'd like you to do about it:

- First, join our new Rapid Response Network. Here's how it works: we will send you a pop up notice about breaking news stories like this, as well as an easy way to click to promote the article to the Most Popular list of sites like CNN, Reuters, Yahoo News and a dozen other online media outlets. If you have just 5 minutes to spare each week, you have time to be a Rapid Responder! http://members.greenpeace.org/survey/start/58/

- Next, please consider a donation today to help us fight for polar bears and ramp up our campaigns to stop global warming. We're not going to stand by and let the Administration get away with this, and I hope you won't either. https://secureusa.greenpeace.org/securedonate/index.php?from=05142008

Despite the loopholes the Bush Administration has inserted, it is crystal clear that without your tremendous support, they would have continued to ignore the polar bear until it disappeared altogether. I thank you for your determination and continued support.

For the future of polar bear,

Melanie Duchin

Global Warming Campaigner, Alaska


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                                               Look at the flowers

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