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Saving Coral

In the April-May issue of Seed, Josh Braun wrote that the Center for Biological Diversity was moving to get two species of coral & the polar bear listed under the Endangered Species Act. The NY Times article on the news makes no mention that the strategy behind this was to get the US to do something about global warming which seems to be harming the species, but it provides plenty of info on how the govt. will be able to escape a change in policy.

For one thing, there’s no consensus that global warming alone is what’s harming the coral. And we’ve seen what Republicans can do with a little non-consensus on global-warming science:

“There’s a lot of differing opinions and before we react I think it’s best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what’s taking place.” – Bush, second Bush-Gore debate, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Oct. 11, 2000.

“It’s to say that there are still — there is still a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the science of climate change, and that’s pointed out in the National Academy of Science report that the President requested when he came into office.” – Scott McLellan, press briefing, June 8, 2005

“The science is more complex, the answers are less certain, and the technology is less developed. So we need a flexible approach that can adjust to new information and new technology.” – President Bush, February 14, 2002, President Announces Clear Skies & Global Climate Change Initiatives National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Silver Spring, Maryland

“The question is whether it’s a result of centuries-long natural cycles or whether man’s activity over the last 50 or 60 years has contributed to it. The jury’s still out.”– Dick Cheney in July/Aug ’02 issue of The American Spectator

“We must be very careful not to take actions that could harm consumers,” President George W. Bush wrote in a letter to four Republican senators in March 2001. “This is especially true given the incomplete state of scientific knowledge of the causes of, and solutions to, global climate change.”

As the article details, it’s going to take the rest of the year for scientists just to figure out what to do next. Then, a couple more years to come up with a strategy to save them. I don’t know why they couldn’t have been doing this in anticipation of the move– or regardless of it– but in any case, with the rapid depletion of the species over the last 30 years, let’s hope it’s not too late. Apart from their aesthetic beauty, coral support a variety of sea life, and it is a generally accepted principle among most scientists (and ethicists) that a diversity of life is, as Martha Stewart would say, a good thing.