"The fate of the emperor penguin is in doubt, as global warming threatens its icy habitat — and world leaders struggle to enact protections that could buy the iconic Antarctica bird some much-needed time.
A recent meeting of the Antarctic Treaty System laid bare the uphill battle to protect the species. Dozens of nations, and a substantial body of scientific evidence, supported a proposal to give the emperor penguin special protection status under the Antarctic Treaty’s Protocol on Environmental Protection. But it took only one country — China — to block action.
The new status wouldn’t have been enough to save the species. Experts say that will require curbing global emissions, and preventing further warming. But it would have shielded the penguins from additional threats, like pollution and other human disturbances, by placing certain limits on research work, tourist operations and other human activities that come in close contact with penguin colonies."