American PikaIn an article published in Yale Environment 360 on July 22, 2010, Todd Woody chronicles the ongoing campaign by various environmental organizations to use the Endangered Species Act to compel the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The article, Enlisting Endangered Species As a Tool to Combat Warming, recounts the perils facing the American Pika, previously blogged about here,  to illustrate the broader strategy aimed at forcing the Services to regulate GHG emissions.

As noted in our blog post, Fish and Wildlife Service’s to Review Prospect of Listing Whitebark Pine Due to Climate Change, the Service recently announced a 90-day finding that listing the whitebark pine as endangered or threatened due to climate change may be warranted.  In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service may adopt rules listing several species of penguins due to climate change.  The National Marine Fisheries Service previously determined that a petition to list 83 species of coral due to climate change presented substantial information indicating that listing might be warranted for 82 of the species.  But the Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the American pika as endangered or threatened due to climate change.

As Mr. Woody notes in his article, these listing decisions have been spurred by petitions and lawsuits filed by several environmental organizations with the aim of not only protecting the species from extinction, but utlimately requiring the Services to require emitters of GHG to reduce or mitigate their emissions.  But, so far, the utimate aim has been frustrated by resistance from both the Bush and Obama Administrations and doubts about the validity of the legal theory underlying the overarching strategy.