happy endangered species day


Earth, man. What a shithole.

–crewman Johner, Alien Resurrection

Congress asked the National Research Council for its opinion on climate change. The NRC is responding with America’s Climate Choices, a five volume report. The first three were released this week.

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems. As decision makers respond to these risks, the nation’s scientific enterprise can contribute both by continuing to improve understanding of the causes and consequences ofclim ate change, and by improving and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change and to adapt to its impacts. To do so, the nation needs a comprehensive, integrated, and flexible climate change research enterprise that is closely linked with action oriented programs at all levels. Also needed are a comprehensive climate observing system, improved climate models and other analytical tools, investments in human capital, and better linkages between research and decision making.

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Meeting internationally discussed targets for limiting atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated increases in global average temperatures will require a major departure from business as usual in how the world uses and produces energy. This report recommends a U.S. policy goal stated in terms of a budget for cumulative greenhouse gas emissions over the period 2012‑2050. With only so much to “spend” during this period, the nation should act now to: (1) take advantage of key near-term opportunities to limit greenhouse gas emissions (e.g., through energy efficiency and low carbon energy sources), and to create new and better emission reduction opportunities for the longer term (e.g., invest in research and development); (2) create a national policy framework within which actors at all levels can work toward a common goal; and (3) develop policy mechanisms durable enough to persist for decades but flexible enough to adapt to new information and understanding.

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Much of the nation’s experience to date in managing and protecting its people, resources, and infrastructure is based on the historic record of climate variability during a period of relatively stable climate. Adaptation to climate change calls for a new paradigm – one that considers a range of possible future climate conditions and associated impacts, some well outside the realm of past experience. Adaptation is a process that requires actions from many decision-makers in federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. However, current efforts are hampered by a lack of solid information about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of various adaptation options, by uncertainty about future climate impacts at a scale necessary for decision-making, and by a lack of coordination. Therefore, a national adaptation strategy is needed to support and coordinate decentralized efforts. As part of this strategy, the federal government should provide technical and scientific resources that are currently lacking at the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

At the links you can access press releases and 4-page summaries of each report. The quotes above are the opening paragraphs of those releases. You can also read the full reports online. There is considerable eye strain involved – each runs to hundreds of pages – but the online presentation is well organized and one can skip to chapters of particular interest.

Two more volumes are forthcoming: Informing Effective Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change and the finaly synthesis, America’s Climate Choices.

This isn’t Earth First! speaking. It is the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The question is will congress read it, or put it back on the shelf along with its highflown endangered species day resolution?

Looking for something we can do on the day? The Center for Biological Diversity’s Action Alerts page is a good place to start. It currently features 42 active campaigns. Reading all these amounts to a grad course in ecology. Tiresome as it is, we have to send these letters and emails, because the other side never sleeps. I send them all, even though only Maria Cantwell responds.


4 Responses to “happy endangered species day”

  1. artemis54 Says:

    I’m back, more or less.

  2. artemis54 Says:

    I am tempoprarily out of commission due to a thorny computer problem.

  3. artemis54 Says:

    This once would have been as unthinkable as what is happening in the Gulf: the Canadian government’s own Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife has recommended that the whitebark pine be listed as an endangered species. This following the loss of 70% of the population.

  4. artemis54 Says:

    The Paper Nautilus
    — Marianne Moore

    For authorities whose hopes
    are shaped by mercenaries?
    Writers entrapped by
    teatime fame and by
    commuters’ comforts? Not for these
    the paper nautilus
    constructs her thin glass shell.

    Giving her perishable
    souvenir of hope, a dull
    white outside and smooth-
    edged inner surface
    glossy as the sea, the watchful
    maker of it guards it
    day and night; she scarcely

    eats until the eggs are hatched.
    Buried eight-fold in her eight
    arms, for she is in
    a sense a devil-
    fish, her glass ram’shorn-cradled freight
    is hid but is not crushed;
    as Hercules, bitten

    by a crab loyal to the hydra,
    was hindered to succeed,
    the intensively
    watched eggs coming from
    the shell free it when they are freed,–
    leaving its wasp-nest flaws
    of white on white, and close-

    laid Ionic chiton-folds
    like the lines in the mane of
    a Parthenon horse,
    round which the arms had
    wound themselves as if they knew love
    is the only fortress
    strong enough to trust to.

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