ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to decide within 16 days whether polar bears should be listed as a threatened species because of global warming.
The ruling is a victory for conservation groups that claim the Bush administration has delayed a polar bear decision to avoid addressing global warming and to avoid roadblocks to development such as the transfer of offshore petroleum leases in the Chukchi Sea off Alaska’s northwest coast to oil company bidders.
“We hope that this decision marks the end of the Bush administration’s delays and denial so that immediate action may be taken to protect polar bears from extinction,” Greenpeace representative Melanie Duchin said in a statement.
The Seattle Times: Judge orders federal government to decide polar bear listing
Polar bears in Canada are at risk from climate change but not threatened with extinction, a panel of experts has advised the Canadian government.
The government should develop a plan to protect the country’s estimated 15,000 polar bears, the panel said.
The animals face loss of habitat on two fronts, the panel said – hunting, and melting ice in the Arctic, which is widely blamed on climate change.
BBC News: Polar bears ‘at risk’ in Canada