Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice

Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice
September 11, 2007

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) on September 7 claimed that two-thirds of the world's polar bears may die by 2050 due to global warming. Such claims are strongly contradicted by real-world evidence.

There are currently more than 25,000 wild polar bears in the world, and their numbers are growing – not declining – at an explosive pace in this time of "unprecedented global warming."
According to the February 7, 2005 Edinburgh Scotsman ( http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/international.cfm?id=143012005), "The world's polar bear population is on the increase despite global warming.

"According to new research," the Scotsman reports, "the numbers of the giant predator have grown by between 15 and 25 per cent over the last decade.

"We're seeing an increase in bears that's really unprecedented, and in places where we're seeing a decrease in the population it's from hunting, not from climate change," Canadian polar bear expert Mitch Taylor told the Scotsman.

The March 9, 2007 London Telegraph confirmed the ongoing polar bear population explosion ( http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/09/wpolar09.xml).
"A survey of the animals' numbers in Canada's eastern Arctic has revealed that they are thriving, not declining," the Telegraph reports.

"In the Davis Strait area, a 140,000-square kilometre region, the polar bear population has grown from 850 in the mid-1980s to 2,100 today," added the Telegraph.

Indeed, polar bears evolved from brown bears anywhere from 200,000 years ago ( http://www.alaskazoo.org/willowcrest/polarbearhome.htm) to 3 million years ago ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/wildfacts/factfiles/7.shtml). They survived at least one period when polar temperatures were at least 6 degrees Celsius warmer than today ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Ice_Age_Temperature.png) and perhaps temperatures as warm as 15 degrees Celsius warmer than today ( http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070705/greenland_dna_070705/20070705?hub=SciTech).

Given that polar bear numbers are rapidly increasing and that they survived substantially warmer periods than is expected anytime in the foreseeable future, it is safe to dismiss this latest global warming scare as little more than fantasy.

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor is senior fellow for environment and energy policy at The Heartland Institute, and... (read full bio)