Environmentalists are using the courts to try to protect vanishing Arctic sea ice. In September, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit intended to protect the critical habitat of two species of seals in the US District Court in Anchorage. Even though the agency proposed listing the ringed seal and the bearded seal as threatened in 2010, nothing has been done. The suit accuses the National Marine Fisheries Service of illegally delaying listings for the two species of seals under the Endangered Species Act.
Seals use snow caves to protect their young, so the absence of Arctic ice puts “seal pups at higher risk of death from freezing and predation,” the lawsuit says. Endangered Species Act protections would protect the Arctic ice as part of the seal’s “critical habitat.”
Like the polar bear these two species of seals are being threatened by climate change in the Arctic. Elevated levels of man made greenhouse gases are behind the lowest levels of Arctic ice ever recorded.
“Global warming will impact ringed and bearded seals directly by degrading and eliminating critical sea-ice habitat, which will have devastating consequences by reducing adult reproductive success and the survival of pups and impairing their ability to molt,” the lawsuit says.
The plaintiffs note that Arctic wildlife also face threats from offshore Arctic oil development.
List of Canadian Animals and Plants that are Endangered
The Dramatic Implications of Melting Arctic Sea Ice
Melting Arctic Ice is Releasing Massive Amounts of Methane
Lawsuit Protecting the Arctic from Oil and Gas Drilling
Russia Lining Up Investors for Arctic Drilling
Shell’s Game with the Future of the Arctic
Global Warming Exposes Resources in the Arctic
Arctic Monitoring Stations Report CO2 Levels of 400 PPM
Clinton Working to Cut Short-Lived Climate Pollutants and Arctic Awareness
Northern Ice is Melting at a Dramatic Rate
Canada’s Ruling Conservatives Muzzle Scientists
Environmental Tipping Points
Video: The Republican War on Climate Science
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce
Bill McKibben: Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math
Extreme Weather and the Costs of Climate Change
Fossil Fuel Calamities and Deadly Extreme Weather