Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I only can comment on the U.S. Despite the flaws in the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. does pretty well (not perfect) trying to protect threatened and endangered plants and animals.

I write this despite my disappointment today in the Obama administration's decision to keep the Bush administration rule on polar bears, for now. Basically the Department of the Interior, which has a conflicted interest mind you, agreed that the Endangered Species Act cannot be used to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Perhaps a more independent, critical assessment comes from Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki,. who recently wrote:

On the environment, he has appointed an outspoken advocate of ocean conservation to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, signed into law protection for over two million acres of wilderness, and made clear his intention to combat climate change, including a willingness to force automakers to produce more fuel-efficient and less-polluting cars.

Obama's commitment to implement the U.S. Endangered Species Act has received far less attention. Earlier this year, the U.S. government restored key endangered species protections that were stripped away by George Bush in the waning days of his administration. In particular, President Obama has reinstated rules that will ensure that government decisions or activities that might harm endangered species receive independent scientific scrutiny before they are allowed to go ahead.

In announcing the change, President Obama said: "Throughout our history, there's been a tension between those who've sought to conserve our natural resources for the benefit of future generations, and those who have sought to profit from these resources. But I'm here to tell you this is a false choice. With smart, sustainable policies, we can grow our economy today and preserve the environment for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren."

The president's support for the Endangered Species Act signals a 180-degree turn for the U.S. government. Under George Bush, the U.S. did just about everything in its power, including breaking the law, to eviscerate this critical piece of environmental legislation, enacted, ironically, by another right-wing Republican, Richard Nixon, more than 30 years ago.

One of the largest problems with the ESA, is that enforcement is left to the whims of the executive branch. So, when Americans put a cretin like Bush into office, attempts to protect and preserve endangered species is hampered, if not outright thwarted.

So at least from an American perspective, I think I'm not asking more from other nations than I demand of my own country.

by Magnifico on Fri May 8th, 2009 at 06:06:51 PM EST
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