Thursday, July 10, 2014

Te penguin is the new poster child

The climate has been changing for millions of years. Even billions. Evolution teaches that plant or animal species will find ecological niches, and adapt to them. So climate changes always seems bad for almost everyone, if you ignore adaptation.

NPR reports on a scientist who wants to use law and politics to manipulate us:
WERTHEIMER: You've been studying the Emperor penguin population in Antarctica. What's happening to them?

CASWELL: The Emperor penguin is affected by changes in the sea ice conditions. The projection is that all of the colonies - there are 45 of them known around the circumference of Antarctica. All 45 of them, by the end of the century, are going to be declining quite rapidly. ...

WERTHEIMER: The Emperor penguin is actually on the list to be considered for protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Would protected status help them?

CASWELL: Listing them as an endangered species would have several really positive effects. The biggest one is that it would provide more impetus to take action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing or halting climate change.

WERTHEIMER: You mean the penguin might become a sort of poster child for correcting the direction in which the climate is going?

CASWELL: Yes. And identifying threats to charismatic species, like the Emperor penguin, like the polar bear, is not going to be enough. But documenting threats to species like this, along with the many other impacts of climate change, is an important contribution. And it's really something that the Endangered Species Act is quite appropriate for.
No, that is not an appropriate use of the law. The law was help prevent extinction, not to exploit cute animals for political gain.

Sure, some populations will being decline at the end of the XXI century, if they fail to adapt to change. But we will very likely have just as much wildlife as we have today, and plenty of penguins.

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