This story highlights how environmental activists are using the Endangered Species Act to force wide-spread regulation of emissions that contribute to global warming. The push to list the American pika is the first step towards forcing all businesses that produce emissions that can be argued to affect the Sierra habitat in which the mammal lives to mitigate for harm done to the pika’s habitat. From the article:
A third of the pika populations in the mountains of Nevada and Oregon have become extinct in the last century as temperatures warmed. Those that remain in Western states are found 900 feet further upslope. With predictions that U.S. temperatures will rise twice as fast this century as they did over the last 100 years, experts fear the creature could disappear from huge swaths of the American West.
Warm temperatures can literally cause the critters to die of overheating. Climate change also threatens to reduce the insulating winter snowpack they depend on and probably will shorten the foraging season for an animal that weighs just a third of a pound but collects more than 60 pounds of vegetation to survive the winter.
“Global warming has hit home in the lower 48 states, and this is our chance to act,” said Gregory C. Loarie, an attorney with Earthjustice, an environmental law firm involved in the issue. “If we lose the pika to climate change, we can expect other species to follow.”
Most people have no idea how the ESA works, but it will soon focre widespread regulation of businesses that have no idea that they will soon face enormous regulatory demands on their operations.