We’re finally factoring in climate projections when we declare a species ‘threatened’

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Climate science is finally winning in court and it could save endangered species. Last week, the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that federal authorities can use climate models to list a bearded seal subspecies as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The ruling reinforced the principle that climate projections are valid science, and the government can use that science to warrant protection to species whose habitats are threatened by global warming.

All kinds of species, not just those that depend on ice and snow for survival, might be affected by the ruling, according to environmental lawyers. “The court recognized that you can’t just wait until a species is on…

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