The plight of the polar bear has come to represent the real-world impact of the climate crisis, so it is only fitting that the Bush administration had to be ordered by a court to make a decision on the endangered status of the species. After years of delay, the Interior Department finally classified the animal as threatened, but also promised to fight any meaningful protection.

The Endangered Species Act is supposed to offer real protection for animals that the government classifies as threatened or endangered. Environmentalists hoped that would translate into limits on Arctic drilling and tighter greenhouse gas regulations.

That’s because the main threat to the polar bear is global warming. Every year there is less and less sea ice, which the world’s largest land predator depends on to find food.

The Interior Department estimates that around two-thirds of the polar bear population will die off over the next 40 or so years.

AP via Google:

Three environmental groups whose lawsuit forced the Interior Department to make a decision on the bear’s status, indicated they are preparing to go to court again to challenge some of the provisions [Interior Secretary Dirk] Kempthorne outlined.

These measures amount to the bear not getting all the protections it in entitled to under the Endangered Species Act and won’t hold up in court, said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity.

Andrew Wetzler of the Natural Resources Defense Council said the Interior Department’s decision allows loopholes in the law “to allow the greatest threat to the polar bear — global warming pollution — to continue unabated.”

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