"'The catalytic converter has had a profound impact on our environment,' says Jim Kliesch, senior engineer for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Advances in the catalytic converter, which rolled out on GM's 1975 model-year cars, and computer-controlled fuel injection technology have all but eliminated tailpipe emissions, he says."
“Pit Bulls Can’t Fly: Adapting the Endangered Species Act to the Reality of Climate Change”
"Notwithstanding its reputation as the 'pit bull' of American environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) has its limits. It has helped stem the decline of endangered species in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems largely because of its close nexus with discrete land and resource development uses. A new subdivision consumes habitat of an endangered lizard; a dam blocks passage of an endangered fish; seine nets threaten an endangered sea turtle—these fit easily within the ESA’s reach because they present straightforward causal scenarios with easily identified causal agents. But as cause and effect become attenuated by spatial and temporal discontinuities, or when causal agents are dispersed, numerous, and difficult to identify, the ESA has proven unwieldy and ineffective in application. There is and will be no better example of these limiting factors than the fit between the ESA and climate change. In short, asking the ESA to take on the causes of climate change is like asking pit bulls to fly. They can’t.
This chapter explores the fit between the ESA and climate change and recommends reforms designed to avoid ineffective applications of the ESA while enhancing ways to employ the statute to assist climate-threatened species. The great divide in this respect is between using the ESA to force reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (known as climate change mitigation), which is a path to folly, and using it to help species through the massive transformations climate change will inflict on ecosystems (known as climate change adaptation), which is where the ESA can gainfully be enlisted. The first section of the chapter summarizes the ecological consequences of climate change in terms relevant to ESA policy. The next section provides a brief review of the legal context that has formed thus far with respect to the ESA and climate change, focusing in particular on greenhouse gas emissions. The final section spells out the proposed reforms designed around the concept of transition—that is, focusing first on getting species through the ecological consequences of climate change and worrying later about how to recover them from their imperiled status."
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