The Bear Facts

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That innocent-looking polar bear poses a huge threat to the American economy. It’s not his fault, of course. Liberals are always scheming to get control of the economy, and their latest dodge takes advantage of the myth that “global warming” threatens the bears’ habitat. The Left is now seeking to have the polar bear certified as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. Sounds harmless, you say? Hugh Hewitt–as far as I know, the only person so far to blow the whistle on the liberals’ scam–explains the legal consequences:

The short version: If the polar bear is listed, every activity that emits a greenhouse gas of any sort in the lower 48 AND which receives a federal permit or requires federal agency action of any sort –even if that permit or action is unrelated to the emission of the gases– those activities will be subject to new review by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the approval may not be forthcoming, will certainly at least be delayed, and will almost certainly come with massive new costs attached.

Thus coastal building programs that require federal flood insurance or Army Corps of Engineers permits, highway construction that gets FHA funding, or joint NASA-private industry initiatives that result in launchings, all these and hundreds of thousands of additional federal permits and actions get gathered in under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act.

Come to think of it, every time you breathe you emit carbon dioxide which, according to the wackos, “endangers” the polar bear. Good thing you don’t (yet) need a permit to breathe; so far, it’s only the economy that is in danger of being killed off. Write your Congressman.

UPDATE: For a comprehensive assessment of environmental issues relating to the polar bear, go here. It appears that recent shrinkage in Arctic ice area has little or nothing to do with warming:

In October 2007, NASA announced the results of an in-depth study of Arctic sea-ice melting and found that what has caused the unusually large melting seen in the last eight years was not greenhouse gas-induced global warming. In the press release describing the study, team leader Son Nghiem explained that the warming of recent years was, in fact, caused by a change in wind patterns. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.

The truth is that we don’t know how many polar bears there are, or what present population trends are:

At present, polar bear populations are robust and, according to native people, are considerably larger than they were in previous decades.[29] Predictions of polar bear endangerment are based on two sets of computer models: one set predicts how much Arctic sea ice will melt as a result of global warming, and the other predicts how polar bear populations will respond. But computer models of climate are known to be fraught with problems, and the ecological models used to predict polar bear response are equally limited.

Because of extreme limitations in data, it is essentially impossible to decide whether polar bears are endangered and whether their habitat is threatened by man-made global warming or other natural climate cycles. This is acknowledged by the experts themselves–the actual IUCN/SSC report is more broad in naming causes and more conservative about estimating their effects.

What we do know about polar bears is that, contrary to media portrayals, they are not fragile “canary in the coal mine” animals, but are robust creatures that have survived past periods of extensive deglaciation. Polar bear fossils have been dated to over one hundred thousand years, which means that polar bears have already survived an interglacial period when temperatures were considerably warmer than they are at present and when, quite probably, levels of summertime Arctic sea ice were correspondingly low.

There’s much more.

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