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Coral WhisperersScientists on the Brink$
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Irus Braverman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520298842

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520298842.001.0001

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Coral Law under Threat

Coral Law under Threat

(p.152) (p.153) Chapter 4 Coral Law under Threat
Coral Whisperers

Irus Braverman

University of California Press

In chapter 4, “Coral Law under Threat,”the pendulum swings back to despair. The chapter documents the focus of contemporary legal regimes—in particular, the U.S. Endangered Species Act—on threat and endangerment, exposing how ill-equipped this law is for dealing with coral species and also with the sheer scale of their “super wicked problem.” Here, federal administrators provide insight into the processes by which listing and delisting decisions take place, their deliberations about coral classification providing a fresh perspective on the correlations between law and science. While the frustrations with existing legal regimes, as well as the fraught relationship between scientists and lawyers, invoke a sense of despair, some also see hope on the legal horizon. Two such hopeful instances are the emerging international regulation of climate change and the signals of possible receptiveness by U.S. courts to the assertion of constitutional rights to a healthy environment.

Keywords:   U.S. Endangered Species Act, threatened species, law-science correlations, climate change, environmental law, NOAA, hybrid Acropora prolifera, crown of thorns starfish, COTSbot

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