Skip to main content

Why are the billionaires always laughing?

Because they know the corporate media will never call bullshit on their bullshit.

Why are the billionaires laughing?

It’s easy to laugh when the corporate press treats you as a glorious success instead of the epitome of a broken social order. They laugh because they know the corporate media prefers to fawn over them rather than hold them to account.

Today, we ask you to support our nonprofit journalism because we are not impressed by billionaires flying into space, their corporations despoiling our health and planet, or their vast fortunes safely concealed in tax havens across the globe. We are not laughing.

We are hard at work digging out the truth. Please support this independent journalism today by donating to our critical Fall Campaign. We cannot do it without you. Thank you. -- Craig Brown, Co-founder

Support Our Work -- Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Every donation—large or small—helps us bring you the news that matters.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Shaye Wolf, Center for Biological Diversity,
(415) 436-9682 x 301

Press Release

Three Arctic Seal Species Advance Toward Endangered Species Act Protection

Ringed, Bearded, and Spotted Seals Threatened by Global Warming
SAN FRANCISCO -

In response to a scientific petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, the federal government announced today it was launching a full status review to determine whether three ice-dependent seal species that inhabit Alaskan waters warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act.

This is the first step toward formal listing for ringed, bearded, and spotted seals, all of which are threatened by rapid loss of their sea-ice habitat due to global warming. The status review will be conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service, a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Today's announcement comes amid reports that Arctic summer sea-ice extent could reach another record low this year. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, Arctic summer sea-ice extent reached its second lowest level in 30 years on August 26th, with several weeks still left in the summer melt season, and could plummet below the record minimum observed in September 2007. Leading climate scientists warn that the Arctic may be ice-free in the summer as early as 2012.

"The Arctic is in crisis due to global warming," said Shaye Wolf, a biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity and lead author of the seal petition. "An entire ecosystem is rapidly melting away, and we risk losing not just the polar bear but the ice seals and other ice-dependent species if we do not take immediate action to address global warming."

Ringed, bearded, and spotted seals use the sea ice in slightly different ways, but each depends on the sea ice for giving birth, rearing pups, and resting. Ringed seals, which are the primary prey for polar bears, excavate snow caves on sea ice to provide hidden, insulated shelters for themselves and their pups. The early breakup of sea ice destroys these snow sanctuaries, resulting in increased deaths of pups. Bearded seals, which are distinctive for their mustachioed appearance and their elaborate courtship songs, give birth and rear their pups on drifting pack ice over shallow waters, where their bottom-dwelling prey is abundant. The early retreat of the sea ice off the food-rich shallow shelves decreases food availability for these seals. Spotted seals, whose longer noses give them a dog-like appearance, rely on the edge of the sea ice away from predators as safe habitat for giving birth and as a nursery for their pups. Loss of sea ice and early sea-ice breakup threaten these seals' ability to successfully rear their young.

In addition to loss of sea ice from global warming, these seals face threats from increased oil and gas development in their habitat and the proliferation of shipping routes in an increasingly ice-free Arctic. Both activities bring heightened risk of oil spills and rising levels of noise pollution and other kinds of human disturbance.

"With rapid action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, combined with a moratorium on new oil and gas development and shipping routes in the Arctic, we can still save the ice seals and other Arctic wildlife," Wolf said. "If the ice seals are to survive, we need to protect their habitat, rather than converting it into a polluted industrial zone."

The Center for Biological Diversity filed the petition to list the three seal species on May 28. Today's finding that protection of the species under the Endangered Species Act may be warranted triggers a requirement for federal officials to complete the status review and issue a proposed rule to list the species by May 28, 2009.

Listing of the seals would not affect subsistence harvest of these seals by Alaska natives, which is exempted from the law's prohibitions.

The Center has also filed petitions seeking protection of the polar bear, Pacific walrus, and ribbon seal from melting sea ice and other effects of global warming. The polar bear was listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act on May 15th. The National Marine Fisheries Service is currently reviewing the ribbon seal for listing under the Endangered Species Act, while the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to respond to the walrus petition, a decision that was due on May 7th.

For more information on ringed, bearded, and spotted seals and a link to the federal petition, please see: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/mammals/bearded_ringed_and_spotted_seals/index.html

###

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive. 

Schumer Endorses 'Inspiring Community Leader' India Walton as Buffalo's Next Mayor

The U.S. Senate majority leader's move comes as some key New York Democrats refuse to back the democratic socialist.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Who Will You Throw Overboard?' Manchin Targeted for Trying to Sink Democratic Agenda

West Virginians gathered at the senator's yacht to demand that he stop blocking the "popular and needed" Build Back Better package.

Jessica Corbett ·


'We Shouldn't Do It at All': Manchin Admits He's the Enemy of Democrats' Ambitions

The right-wing West Virginia Democrat and fossil fuel investor has previously confessed his intent to quash his own party's sweeping $3.5 trillion Build Back Better package.

Brett Wilkins ·


After Getting 'Stealth Bailout' During Pandemic, US Corporations Try to Kill Proposed Tax Hikes

"When it's time to finally put workers first, big businesses are spending millions to maintain their advantage and preserve the status quo," said Kyle Herrig of Accountable.US.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Disgraceful': Just 9 Republicans Join With Dems to Hold Steve Bannon in Criminal Contempt

The vote "reveals just how far the Republican Party has fallen" since Trump took control as GOP's de facto leader, said one pro-democracy advocate.

Jon Queally ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo