Although some European Union nations, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Poland, had offered strong backing for the U.S. proposal, the EU ultimately submitted a surprise "compromise", which would have required Canada merely to report its export figures and provide information on polar bear trade and populations. This compromise had the effect of offending both sides, and was not voted on.
In the end, 38 countries voted in favor of the U.S. proposal, with 42 against and 46 abstentions.
"We're incredibly disappointed by this shortsighted decision," said Sarah Uhlemann of CBD. "Unless the world moves quickly to combat climate change, two-thirds of the world's polar bears will be gone by 2050, and added pressure from unsustainable Canadian hunting will only hasten the extinction of this spectacular animal."
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Meanwhile, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a 2008 decision to list polar bears as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The decision had been challenged by the State of Alaska.