January 4, 2011

Polar bears as political pawns!

By Polar bears as political pawns!

Author: Reed Hopper

The Lake Berryessa News is carrying an article provocatively entitled: "Polar Bears as Political Pawns: President Obama sides with George Bush!"  The author admits the title is misleading because the brunt of the story is that environmentalists have been using the polar bear as political pawns, not Bush and Obama.  This is refreshing because we rarely hear this side of the story.

The Obama administration is actually just sticking with a George W. Bush-era decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to deny polar bears endangered species status. Both Obama and Bush simply support the scientific evidence that polar bears are not an endangered species.  The Fish and Wildlife Service defended the previous administration’s decision to give the polar bear the less-protective “threatened” species designation, a move that will frustrate environmentalists who hoped for the stronger protection as an “endangered” species under the Endangered Species Act.

 That was the reason Anti-Global Warming advocates pressured the Bush administration to go further and declare them endangered rather than threatened, and hoped the Obama administration would act where Bush would not. A finding of “endangerment” would allow AGW advocates to start filling court dockets with lawsuits against emitters of carbon dioxide by claiming that global warming was killing polar bears. It would also give the government the opportunity to bypass Congress and the EPA and start regulating emissions under the Endangered Species Act rather than the separate endangerment finding the EPA proposes to use for its expansion of regulation next year….

Over the past few years, the story about polar bear decline and dead polar bears found on ice floes has cropped up many times. Actually, there was a single sighting of four dead bears the day after "an abrupt windstorm" in an area housing one of the increasing bear populations.

 What various studies have really told us is that of the twenty distinct subpopulations of polar bears, one or possibly two were declining in Baffin Bay; more than half were known to be stable; and two subpopulations were actually increasing around the Beaufort Sea. Moreover, it is reported that the global polar-bear population has increased dramatically over the past decades, from about five thousand members in the 1960s to twenty-five thousand today, through stricter hunting regulation.

The article provides some interesting facts about polar bears and their status and is worth the read.

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