ECN claims ‘Polar Bears Thriving’September 17, 2007 at 4:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments
‘Real-world evidence shows polar bear numbers are increasing rapidly throughout the Arctic.’
according to James M. Taylor of The Heartland Institute under the front-page headline ‘Teachers Misinformed on Climate Change’.
The full title of the article is ‘Alaska Teachers Indoctrinated with Misleading Global Warming Materials‘ as it appears in October 2007 copy of Environment & Climate News, ‘The Monthly Newspaper for Common-Sense Environmentalists’ which is read, we are told, by 56% of legislators.
Indeed, it would be a big cause for concern if it were true that American teachers were being misinformed on climate change, not to mention American legislators being misled.
Polar bear and cub by Scott Schliebe USFWS
For a reality check, we could listen to David Attenborough describing, with accuracy and honesty, the deteriorating conditions for the polar bear and its habitats. Alternatively, take a quick glance back at a couple of excerpts from this recent report The appalling fate of the polar bear, symbol of the Arctic in The Independent:
… the Arctic, which is warming faster than anywhere else in the world. Satellite observations have revealed that its ice has shrunk to much its lowest ever level, raising fears that it had reached a “tipping point” where it would melt irreversibly, disappearing altogether in summer in less than 25 years, with incalculable global consequences.
And a separate Independent on Sunday investigation has found that polar bears are being shot in alarming numbers by rich trophy hunters from the US, Europe and Japan, even as their increasingly fragile habitat melts beneath them. Campaigners know that climate change and pollution are the biggest threats to polar bear survival, but believe that stopping sports hunting is symbolically important.
American hunters exploit a loophole in the Marine Mammal Protection Act that allows them to get licences to import polar bear trophies from Canada. Some 953 have been granted or applied for since 1994. Senator Kerry is now co-sponsoring with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe a proposed Polar Bear Protection Act in the US Senate that would stop the skins being imported.
At the same time comes the polar bear investigation – conducted by the US Geological Survey – which concluded that the world population would be cut by two-thirds by the middle of the century as the result of the melting of the ice. This is likely to be over-optimistic because, as the survey itself admits, it is based on estimates of the rate of the ice’s disappearance that fall far short of what is actually taking place. New evidence also suggests that chemical pollution, wafted up to the Arctic, is interfering with the bears’ abilities to reproduce.
The study is hugely significant because it was ordered by President Bush’s Interior Secretary, Dirk Kempthorne, as a response to pressure to list the species under the US Endangered Species Act. Its conclusions make the listing virtually impossible to refuse. Once the species is covered by the act, US agencies would be bound by law to take into account how their decisions could affect it – leading to action to control the growth of the pollution that causes global warming.