On Eve of G8 Summit, Groups Push for Endangered Status for Polar Bears
As world leaders meet in Scotland to discuss issues such as global warming, Greenpeace, Center for Biological Diversity and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a petition today with the Department of Interior calling for further protection of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. At the same time, Greenpeace sent a message directly to world leaders from Greenland, where its ship the Arctic Sunrise is documenting global warming evidence with a charcoal drawing of a U.S. flag, a polar bear and the words "Save Me" on an ice floe. The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment has projected the polar bear could be extinct by the end of the century due to global warming.
"Global warming is happening fast and the polar bear could be its first victim," said Melanie Duchin, Greenpeace climate expert from onboard the Arctic Sunrise. "It is human activity that is destroying this magnificent animal's habitat and it must be our urgent action that protects it."
The Bush administration is attempting to block or weaken a climate initiative at the G8 meeting. The Guardian reported last week that U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair is considering splitting from the United States over the global warming issue. The snub would lead to seven leaders agreeing on a final communiqué on global warming with President Bush left out.
"The Bush administration is backed into a corner by continuing to ignore and deny global warming is real," continued Duchin. "State and local governments in the United States, especially politicians from the president's own party are distancing themselves and promoting solutions to global warming. It is unfortunate that we have to do so in spite of the president as opposed to in support of him."
From late June through late August, the Arctic Sunrise will travel the coast of Greenland, to investigate and document the dramatic evidence of global warming, including disappearing glaciers and melt lakes. The ship is also visiting prominent research stations and will serve as a platform for scientific research on the effects of global warming.
Following its work in Greenland, the Arctic Sunrise will tour several states on the East Coast to work for solutions to global warming, including the first offshore wind power facilities in Massachusetts and New York. The ship tour is part of Greenpeace's Project Thin Ice-Going the Distance to Stop Global Warming.
For photos from the Arctic Sunrise, polar bears and global warming impacts visit: usaphoto.greenpeace.org/project_thin_ice_images/
Read the petition regarding the protection of polar bears.
Other contacts: Carol Gregory 202-319-2472; 202-413-8531 (cell)
Exp. contact date: 2005-08-05 00:00:00