We Shouldn't Give Up on the ESA
by Dr. Jean Brennan
During the June 25 meeting in Boise on climate change impacts in the Columbia River Basin, reporter Rocky Barker questioned the adequacy of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) under the observed and predicted impacts of climate change. While I'm glad the press covered this important meeting, Mr. Barker's account of my response to his comment is misleading.
A more accurate representation would have been to quote my response in full: "Yes, it is generally agreed that none of our current federal legislation, not the ESA, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, or (the National Environmental Policy Act) will be sufficient to address all the predicted threats of climate change."
By quoting me incompletely, Mr. Barker drew the conclusion in his recent articles, "Natural resource managers say global warming, wildlife don't mix" (June 25) and "Warming world prompts change" (June 29) that the government should officially make the choice to allow a species to disappear forever. This is misleading and seriously confuses two very different issues.
No matter what we do, we will still most likely lose some species to climate change. But that won't be our choice, and we certainly don't need to change the ESA to facilitate that loss - it will be the unfortunate result of continued impacts of climate change on wildlife and their habitats caused primarily by our continued emissions of greenhouse gas pollution.
Though current federal legislation may not be up to the job of addressing all the predicted and observed threats of climate change, we should not rip up the ESA, or give up on any species in jeopardy. All of this highlights the urgent need to act now to do everything we can to assist species to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Wildlife Experts are Resigned to Extinction of Some Species by Rocky Barker, Bellingham Herald, 6/30/8
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