More on Polar Bears

By December 30, 2006General

Much has been made of late about the Interior Department’s decision to undertake rule-making on whether polar bears should be listed as “threatened.” As it turns out, this is in settlement of a lawsuit filed by a bunch of enviro groups, aimed at the most high-profile — and cuddly — animal they could find. (If you get close enough, just don’t try to pet them.)

Here’s a link to a good piece in the Washington Times by Steve Milloy on the topic. He notes — as we did in this space a few days ago — that polar bears have “survived much warmer times than we are now experiencing — like 1,000 years ago when the Vikings farmed Greenland during the Medieval Climate Optimum and 5,000-9,000 years ago during the period known as the Holocene Climate Optimum.” Of course this pre-dated the enviro groups and our lawsuit-happy culture, too.

Milloy also notes that “The Greenland ice melt, for example, was actually larger in 1991 than in 2005 and the Greenland ice cap is thickening. Data from the Canadian Ice Service indicate there has been no precipitous drop-off in ice cap amount or thickness since 1970.”

All of this has been lost in the hysteria. Everybody wants to save the cute polar bears, of course. However, as Milloy notes, the US Fish and Wildlife Service notes on its website, “There are no overall data on global polar bear population.” Who needs it when there’s hysteria and speculation?

Hope this adds a little balance to the media coverage of this event over the last few days.