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The bear truth.

ITEM: The Boston Globe for January 2 stated: "Polar bears are becoming canaries in the mine, warning of the consequences of global warming."

ITEM: In an article about alcoholic beverages in the New York Times for January 14, Jonathan Miles reported: "By proposing to add polar bears to the list of 'threatened' species last month, the Bush administration seemed to finally acknowledge that global warming is taking a toll.... Closer to home and heart: I'd been worrying about another sort of species that--at least this season--seems terribly vulnerable to climate change: the hot toddy. Like polar bears', these cold-weather cocktails depend on frigid temperatures to survive."

ITEM: "The way I live today contributes to global warming's effect on the poor in Africa, as well as the impending demise of polar bears," writes columnist Pius Kamau in the Denver Post for January 10. Kamau, a surgeon who immigrated from Kenya, says this became clear to him "when the federal government proposed placing the polar bear on the Endangered Species list. There's overwhelming scientific evidence to support the fact that global warming, causing the melting of the Arctic ice cap, will make the future of the resilient polar bear bleak.... I today own more cars" than I need; each day I drive too many miles from my suburban perch to where I work."

ITEM: "Polar bears might not be extinct until 2040," writes Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, in the Los Angeles Times for January 14, "but that doesn't mean we have 30 years to do nothing."

ITEM: The media are "puzzled," said the Albuquerque Tribune for January 9. "The White House has denied the reality of global warming for so long and has suppressed and censored so many government reports on climate change. Why was it now declaring that global warming is not only real but killing polar bears ?"

CORRECTION: The stories about how the polar bears are soon to be wiped off the planet, apparently because Americans drive automobiles too much and are otherwise too selfish to reduce their standard of living, have become as ubiquitous as they are preposterous.

For example, during a recent warm spell in New York City, Today Show host Meredith Vieira told her national NBC audience that, although she briefly thought it was great to be able to run in the park in her shorts because of the weather, she came to her senses and asked herself, "Are we all gonna die?" We'll go out on a limb and say, "Yes, eventually, of something."

At the same time, environmental doomsayers portray President Bush as the epitome of evil who is courting disaster because he won't do everything they demand. Time magazine has compared Bush and the polar bear to Nixon's Cambodia and JFK's Bay of Pigs.

In truth, even if the Bush administration gave the global-warming alarmists everything being pushed by, say, former Vice President A1 Gore--which would cost about $553 trillion over this century, according to a UN estimate--the greenies would not be satisfied. The polar bears are just pawns in the power struggle. Facing lawsuits by environmental groups, the administration responded by proposing to list the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. Inevitably, this won't be enough and will lead to calls for more restrictions on human activity.

Never mind that the animals are already protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and that the polar bear population is not in decline. When Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne said, "we are concerned that the polar bears' habitat may literally be melting," and sought 12 months to gather more information, it provided just the opening sought by those promoting hysteria. If the polar bear is listed under the Endangered Species Act, then the government will say that it is being forced to comply by reducing the "greenhouse-gas emissions" that are supposedly harming the bear's environment. As the Wall Street Journal put it: "For want of a few hundred polar bears, the entire U.S. economy could be vulnerable to judicial dictation."

The administration is already spending billions of dollars on "climate-change programs," as noted on an official State Department website. That website also disseminates dubious allegations about how the Arctic Ocean could lose all its summertime ice by 2040, which "could spell doom for polar bears." The State Department propaganda could easily have appeared on the website of an environmental group such as the National Resources Defense Council, which warns against global warming.

This is how scaremongers get their way: ensuring that there is always pressure from the political left and from below, the State Department can instigate programs from above that are only "moderate" when compared to those of Greenpeace.

Meanwhile, there are more polar bears now than there were four decades ago --with estimates ranging from 20,000 to 25,000 worldwide. This compares to around 5,000 in the 1950s, and 8,00010,000 in the late 1960s.

Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, notes: "Interestingly, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has also written on the threats posed to polar bears from global warming. But, their own data on polar bear populations contradict claims that rising air temperatures are causing a decline in polar bear populations. According to the WWF there are some 22,000 polar bears in about 20 distinct populations worldwide. Only two bear populations--accounting for about 16.4 percent of the total--are decreasing, and they are in areas where air temperatures have actually fallen, such as the Baffin Bay region. By contrast, another two populations--about 13.6 percent of the total number i are growing and they live in areas where air temperatures have risen, near the Bering Strait and the Chukchi Sea. As for the rest, 10 populations--comprising about 45.4 percent of the total--are stable, and the status of the remaining six is unknown. Conclusion: based on the available evidence, there is little reason to believe the current warming trend will lead to the extinction of polar bears."

Experts in northern Canada, home to about 60 percent of the polar bears, see no evidence that climate change is eliminating polar bears. In the Davis Strait region of Nunavut, for example, the government opposes the U.S. proposal to list the polar bears as threatened, with surveys showing them to be thriving and growing in numbers. As Nunavut Environment Minister Patterk Netser told CBC News in early January, there are a lot of "uninformed" people, and some environmental groups "feed on the ignorances of these people and force governments to make ... policies that are very reactive or very hard on the people of Nunavut."

When pressed, the environmentalists will say the number of polar bears doesn't really matter, it's what might happen if some computer model were to play out in the worst possible way. Facts are cited only if they can be bent to the political whim of the moment.

Indeed, commented the Wall Street Journal on January 3, "It also turns out that most of the alarm over the polar bear's future stems from a single, peer-reviewed study, which found that the bear population had declined by some 250, or 25%, in Western Hudson Bay in the last decade. But the polar bear's range is far more extensive than Hudson Bay. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain concluded that the ice bear populations 'may now be near historic highs.' One of the leading experts on the polar bear, Mitchell Taylor, the manager of wildlife resources for the Nunavut territory in Canada, has found that the Canadian polar bear population has actually increased by 25%--to 15,000 from 12,000 over the past decade."

But this really isn't about the well-being of the people of Nunavut or the polar bears, but about excuses to impose regulations on Western economies. Even brainwashed legislators would be unlikely to impose direct taxes to knee-cap the economy, but they go along with the activists and regulators who would use the Endangered Species Act to do this indirectly. The federal government isn't being "forced" into its actions by environmentalists any more than the cunning Br'er Rabbit who pleaded, "Please don't throw me in the briar patch"--thereby prompting the fox to do exactly that.
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Title Annotation:Correction, Please!
Author:Hoar, William P.
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Correction notice
Date:Feb 19, 2007
Words:1387
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