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Thursday, May 15, 2008

My polar bear rant!

by Roger Metzger

  Given the many things the media clamors about these days, polar bears may seem relatively unimportant.

   But a Department of Interior decision today demonstrates illogical thinking in high places and I can’t let it pass without a rant. I know Cyber Pastor’s friend at Arctic Power will be able to delineate things far better than this attempt.

 Attempt, I must, however. The federal government’s act designating the polar bear as “threatened” – a step short of the contemplated “endangered species” action – is important to all of us.    And it may embolden Al Gore to stick his head up for air. Increasingly, media publicity has been quoting scientists as saying there’s been no global warming in at least a decade. In fact, recent science suggests we may be in for 12 to 18 years of cooling … something taken so seriously that even some global warming alarmists are referring to that possibility as a “deviation.”

  Back to our polar bear … a creature whose numbers have increased by five times in the past 30-plus years.    Our Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is quoted today as saying “dramatic declines in sea ices over the last three decades and projections of continued losses” mean the polar bear is “likely” in danger of extinction in the near future.

  News reports say Kempthorne appeared at a press conference “armed with slides and charts showing the dramatic decline in sea ice over the last 30 years and projections the melting of ice – a key habitat for the bear – would continue and may even quicken.”     Three things fascinate me at this point.

1.      Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada and the United States entered an international agreement on conservation of polar bears back in the mid-‘70s. That international coalition is not quoted in any material I’ve seen as sounding the alarm about the bears dying.

2.       Even the Interior Secretary acknowledges the polar bear population has climbed to 25,000 within the same time frame when he says sea ice has made a “dramatic decline.”

3.      While the Internet is drowning in reports that our polar bears are doomed and the sea ice is disappearing, it didn’t take me long to find a Science News report of last week that says Department of Interior research on global warming as a reason for listing the polar bear “is so flawed that it cannot be used to justify” that action. That article, based on study to be published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences, cited scientists who said only 10 to 15 percent of relevant forecasting principles were used. Also, I quickly found another seemingly valid counterpoint from the National Snow & Ice Data Center. A report last October from that agency indicated sea ice is again growing, but wouldn’t “get above the September 20-21, 2005 minimum” until later last October.

     Unless I just don’t comprehend English, that means we had a lot more to worry about with melting sea ice 2 ½ years ago than we do now. Sounds like the Doc saying, “You had a pretty bad wound back in ’05 but it’s sure looking a lot better now.”

    Of course, much of the global warming alarmism is based on “what if.” Recently there was a television show with outstanding photography of Alaska, depicting “scientific” teams going “where no man has gone before” to study various life forms. I quit watching because of instance after instance in which the “scientists” tried to guess what would happen “if thus and such occurs” – ifs all predicated on the theory of relentless global warming.

     So what, you may ask, is the reason for all this illogical posturing on behalf of the bear?      

     Sen. John Kerry is quoted today as saying the Department of Interior action is “a lifeline for our last remaining polar bears” but warned their survival hinges on limiting oil development in the Arctic.
     Then, here comes the bad news for all of us!
     Sen. Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Environment Committee, says the announcement of the new listing emphasizes the need to approve climate legislation that would limit the release of greenhouse gases and avert the future effects of climate change.
     Okay, folks, here’s the puzzling summary.
      -- Polar bears are gaining in numbers and we list ‘em as “threatened.”
      -- Various sources say the Arctic ice shelf is getting bigger, not smaller – bigger than it’s been in 2 ½ years at least. And our government is saying sea ice melt will “continue and may even quicken.”
      -- Growing scientific knowledge supports a process of global cooling, not warming, and we’re worried about ice melting.
      -- Legislators in Washington tell us they want to relieve our pain at the gas pump, yet they want to impose limits on greenhouse gases and climate change when the American public can’t be sure what that climate change really means. (What we can be sure of is that it’s not going to "save" us ... it's going to cost us lots of money.)