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May 14, 2008

Bear Facts In a Bloody Debate

Posted: 04:31 PM ET

Okay. I posted a couple of sentences here shortly after the U.S. put the polar bear on the threatened species list this afternoon, and producer Marsha Walton wrote a news story with the details. What followed was a flurry of reader responses: A mix of well-reasoned arguments, political diatribes both for and against, and a bear recipe or two.

Here are a few baseline observations to help guide further discussion, and (polite) argument:

Are Polar Bears Declining? The International Union for the Conservation of Nature put together the most recent authoritative survey of bear populations three years ago. They report that of nineteen separate sub-populations of polar bears residing off the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia, "five are declining, five are stable, two are increasing, and seven have insufficient data on which to base a decision."

Are There More Polar Bears Than There Used to Be Thirty Years Ago? Almost certainly, yes. But this is at least in part due to reductions and restrictions in hunting. In this country, the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act outlawed the killing of polar bears in the early seventies, with some exceptions for traditional native hunters. Often-cited numbers that polar bears are five times more numerous than they were in the 60's or 70's are on thin ice, though: Old numbers estimating a population of only 5,000 bears back then were based in part on guesswork, and are not considered reliable by many bear scientists.

So do Polar Bears have a Rosy Future? The Bush Administration based its decision on science from the US Geological Survey and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The scientists, and the Bush Administration acknowledge a rapid loss of the bears' sea ice habitat, and a strong likelihood that their situation will get worse. (The USGS link goes to a page of links to recent surveys of both polar bear populations and ice cover) Here's the key phrase in the USGS research: "Projected changes in future sea ice conditions, if realized, will result in loss of approximately 2/3 of the world's current polar bear population by the mid 21st Century. Because the observed trajectory of Arctic sea ice decline appears to be underestimated by currently available models, this assessment of future polar bear status may be conservative."

What's Happening with Arctic Sea Ice? The U.S. Government's National Snow and Ice Data Center projects "lower than average ice cover" this summer for the Arctic, on the heels of last summer's record-low ice coverage. Keep an eye on this link over the next few months to see how low the ice cover goes.

What's the Difference between an "Endangered" species and a "Threatened" species? Interior Secretary Kempthorne, in listing the species as "Threatened, " acknowledged that declining ice cover due to global warming could lead to a risk of extinction at some point in the future. An "Endangered" species is one that is determined to be in imminent danger.

Peter Dykstra Executive Producer CNN SciTech & Weather

Filed under: Uncategorized

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Franko   May 14th, 2008 4:59 pm ET

We need the oil !
With rising populations we will need Greenland for farming

If polar bears do not thrive on penguins, walruses and seals in Antarctica;
Give them big bags of Dog Food

Burt   May 14th, 2008 5:31 pm ET

Franko, STEP AWAY FROM THE INTERNET. Please. Go read a book or something. There's so much wrong with your post I don't know where to begin.

Joe Lalumia   May 14th, 2008 5:34 pm ET

Why don't the GW advocates just come out and SAY they want to use this to prevent all types of carbon emitting industries, vehicles and equipment.

In the same press release they should also say they want $7.95 gasoline!

Da Captain   May 14th, 2008 5:38 pm ET

If the ice is naturally melting... there isn't much we can do about it... and if it's caused by man,,, there is little we can do in any amount of time being as China and other countries are in their industrial revolution and aren't about to care what we think...

That being said... isn't placing the Bear on a list pointless? Like putting the Dodo Bird on a list... nature did them in... and there would have been nothing we could do?

Not looking to start an argument... Just some questions...

Also... since the only place we control is Alaska... we have little control over the majority of the population anyway... so if Canada for instance wanted to have hunting seasons... there is nothing we could do about it.

Anonymus   May 14th, 2008 5:48 pm ET

The trouble is Captain, that the environmentalists will expect us to try and save them at any cost anyway, and since it is now enshrined as dogma as well as law that global warming is bad for polar bears, the environmentalists will insist the US stop all that evil greenhouse gas stuff (you know, the byproducts of ~3/4ths of our energy and basically all our food).

Franko   May 14th, 2008 6:04 pm ET

USA atacked the wrong country. Soudy Arabia has the oil.

Now the Polar Bear has to suffer the oil rigs.

Gary   May 14th, 2008 7:27 pm ET

Da Captain,

You think China wants its deal with moving millions of people away from its coastlines when all the ice melts? No. Same with India.

One of these days everybody on Earth is going to have to wake up to the real problems that global warming (caused by fossil fuel burning) will cause. Those problems are like climbing Mt. Everest compared to the problem of high gas prices. Eat least the latter we can solve, if instead of trying to drill ourselves out of the oil problem we actually spend our resources figuring out the most efficient way to directly tap the energy source that has been successfully used for billions by 99.9% of the other species on the planet...the sun!

Gene   May 14th, 2008 7:43 pm ET

Everything has it's time, and everything dies. Including bacteria, bears, people, and stars. The specific reason is irrelevant. When a species can no longer adapt, they become extinct and it makes not one bit of difference whether the reason is a giant meteor, some supposed human induced climate change, space aliens, disease, war, or the hand of some imaginary god.

It's called "Survival of the Fittest". The "Fittest" being those individuals and species that adapt and survive. Too bad we can't know in advance who or what that should or might be.

G.W.   May 14th, 2008 8:22 pm ET


Yah we might just "fittest" ourselves out of existence. You can't keep treating the environment like a cesspool and not have it eventually come back at you.

Joel   May 14th, 2008 8:23 pm ET

"Everything has it’s time, and everything dies. Including bacteria, bears, people, and stars. The specific reason is irrelevant."

If this was true, we would not have laws against murder.

Larian LeQuella   May 14th, 2008 10:03 pm ET

Sadly, us humans have advanced out medical technology to the point where we don't fit into the normal environmental pressures that other animals follow. While I am loathe to let the polar bears just slip into extinction (they are a wonderful species that I feel human activity has some bearing on their survival), I also feel we need to get a firm understanding of what we're really doing.

I said before in another area, we as humans are only starting to understand what is really happening with the environment, the climate, and all the ecosystems we seem bent on ravaging. Anyone who claims to have THE answer is pushing their agenda. No one human being can truly understand all aspects of what is going into the complex system we inhabit. We need to set aside petty differences and start to work together in an effort to understand what is REALLY going on.

In the meantime, the fundamentalists advocate dogma and irresponsibility that sickens me. It's no wonder that the movie "Idiocracy" should be considered a work of prophesy instead of a parody! (G.W. had a good post on that!)

Franko   May 15th, 2008 2:38 am ET

Opposite to the religious guilt of being alive, wishing the death of others, whose sin is utilizing resources; cartoon characters have a wholesome attitude; Let's do it and Let's build it.

The Sun shines unevenly on Earth. The oceans are inefficient redistributors of heat. Improved ocean circulation would cool the tropics and warm the Arctic. But there would be less heat for Antarctica. Perfect scenario. Warm Greenland. Cool Antarctica for the Ice Bears.

Atomic bombs instead of dynamite to do the job. Classical swords to plows. PanAtomic Canal and a deeper Bering Straight come to mind.

Charles   May 15th, 2008 2:58 am ET

We have a few years until the end of Polar Bears; there are enough people worldwide who will contribute to a Polar Bear fund; what we need to do is employ some of the better ocean/arctic scientists and engineers and figure out, design and build artificial bear islands/rest stations and replace enough of the melting ice cap with these artificial 'icebergs'.

Amazed   May 15th, 2008 3:03 am ET

Reading this comment section is an eye opener. Dodos went extinct because of sailors and their rats. Crashing an entire ecosystem, the bear just being one of many causualties, apparently has a tolerable price of anything less than $7.95/gallon for Joe. The US acting puts China, India, even Canada on alert, and they will act, too. Do nothing, and the US continues to give everyone else an excuse. Finally, the car has been around for a little over 100years– and we already have this huge oil crunch. Does anyone this we need to open our eyes to the bigger picture, maybe look into renewables and other energy sources? Wow, after all of the misinformation and stupidity, I'm thinking 'good for the bears' and it's the humans who aren't worth saving.

runner   May 15th, 2008 8:38 am ET

WOW! Now I'm really scared! Not about the environment, about the ignorance on display here. It's not about the bears, ( does canary in the coal mine sound familiar?) It's about what we don't know and don't
see that becomes the problem. Take your heads out of the sand or we
will follow the Dodo.

Maurice Benayoun   May 15th, 2008 9:25 am ET

The whole bear saga is unbearable.
I would give up washing my teeth and private parts for the rest of my life if it meant perserving the bear species.

Rawhide   May 15th, 2008 9:41 am ET

Since "Scientists" can't accurately predict the weather three weeks from now, why should anyone believe them when they predict the weather 50 years from now!? 45 Years ago these same environmentalists were predicting another "Ice Age", imagine that! Oh, and the cause of the coming "Ice Age", you guessed it, the internal combustion engine! Hmmm! Considering the earth has been cooling for the last ten years, and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change at the UN) states that the earth will be cooling for the next ten years (if you believe them), Then placing the Polar Bear on any list is nothing more than political pandering! What a waste!

Amn Snuffy   May 15th, 2008 9:46 am ET

So you're basically suggesting we nuke Panama just we can cool off Africa? Not going to happen, Franko. Nuclear winter may not be very likely, but I sure don't want the stuff around me to start glowing.
I don't think you understand all the ramifications of what you are suggesting. To top it off, its not even possible.

"Religious guilt of being alive"? I'm afraid I don't feel that, and I'm definitely not "wishing the death of others" for their only sin of "utilizing resources". Humanity has somehow made this far, so I'm pretty sure we are doing something right.

As far as drilling for oil in the Arctic is concerned, low-impact drilling is also a possibility, people. Nature and man can co-exist.

Gene   May 15th, 2008 10:06 am ET

Joel: May 14th, 2008 8:23 pm ET

“Everything has it’s time, and everything dies. Including bacteria, bears, people, and stars. The specific reason is irrelevant.”

If this was true, we would not have laws against murder. "

Laws are a purely cultural phenomenon, intended to help a society – or a portion of a society or other group ( family, clan, tribe, racial, species, etc. ) – adapt to it's environment, and thereby survive. You should also understand that "murder" is not against the laws of some past and present cultures and societies. Ever hear of "Honor Killings"? How about human sacrifices? Burning of witches? Cannibalism? All of this, and more, have been and are done, with the intent to ensure the survival of some portion of a society or culture. And all have been and are sanctioned by a variety of religious, governmental, and other "moral authorities". Moral purity is defined by the survivors.

You should study some history, and cultural anthropology.

Paleo81   May 15th, 2008 10:15 am ET

There are two points of this debate that interested me outside my comfortable field of geology....

One: the backers of global warming are investing in CO2 as a currency. Why?

Two: Why, with most of modern history as an example, are we continuing to march towards our inevitable downfall via natural resources? We have the mental resources to come up with a better fuel source but not the infrastructure. If we come up with a renewable source for the civilian population then we still have the military to worry about...and vice versa. But it's still do-able.

"Anyone who claims to have THE answer is pushing their agenda" Well said...It's almost sickening how much the sciences are riddled with politics. If only some of you read behind the lines of some of the research out there....It's almost to the point where to get funding for your research in some places you have to have "carbon cycle" or "human footprint" in your abstract....

mikemac1   May 15th, 2008 10:23 am ET

Why Do We Care If Polar Bears Become Extinct?
This is not any sort of revelation: Polar bears declared a threatened species , but it does raise the question: Why do we care? By some estimates, 90% of all species that once existed are now extinct and new species are always taking their place. For the species that’s going to become extinct, for whatever reason, extinction is the end of it. However, for the species that remain, is the extinction of another species good or bad? When Europeans first colonized North America, there was an estimated five (5) billion Passenger Pigeons alive and well in North America. In 1914, they were extinct. Passenger Pigeons didn’t live in little groups, but huge flocks that required extraordinary quantities of hardwood forests for them to feed, breed and survive. Deforestation to build homes, create farmland and over hunting for cheap food decimated their population. The westward drive to grow the United States in the 1800s and early 1900s was incompatible with the needs of the Passenger Pigeon and they literally could not survive in the new North America being carved out by the U.S. economy. The interesting thing about the Passenger Pigeon was the impact its extinction had on another species—man. That impact was essentially none. Man continued to find ways to feed himself through agriculture and other technologies and the United States and its citizens continued to prosper from the early 20th century till today. Whether or not Polar Bears become extinct because of Global Climate Change or other reasons, we need to address the larger question of: Do we care and why? One of the ways a nation, its citizens and the global community can answer that question is addressed by John A. Warden III in Thinking Strategically About Global Climate Change. He asks some interesting biodiversity questions in his post to include How Many Species Is the Right Number and Which Ones?

Spence   May 15th, 2008 10:26 am ET

1.) Polar bears do not live in Antarctica.
2.) Global warming is over with and we will see this fact soon.
3.) I like polar bears and they do need protection, let us all make sure they are being protected for the good of the polar bear and not for the good of OPEC.
4.) I believe it is time we stop relying on corporations and government to solve our energy needs and start taking on energy challenges for ourselves.
5.) Build your own solar array and other alternative energy sources.
6.) There are other forms of transportation technology and we as consumers must become producers in order to benefit from these alternatives. Yes that means you have to actually work instead of vegetating in a cubicle all day.

Anthony Borelli   May 15th, 2008 10:38 am ET

Those bears look to me like they can take care of themselves.

It sounds to me like we are trying to get ahead of a problem that hasn't yet really happened by "proactively" listing them as threatened before their overall population has shown any real and measurable decline.

Yes, sea ice hit a record low last summer, but records don't go all that far back. My guess is that the fore"bears" of current generations have survived similar warm spells over the past few thousand years, and will survive others in the coming few thousand years. If they can't adapt to change (the one and only environmental constant) then we can't save them anyway. Whether this period of warming is manmade or not, periods of warming can and do occur, and I'd bet the polar bear will adjust just fine.

Of course, if sea ice and temperatures rebound, it will be virtually impossible to reverse this decision now about polar bears, even if their rising numbers become a nuisance.

I live in Florida, where alligators were once "endangered" (never mind that there are huge swaths of virtually impassable swampland where alligators could not have been extinguised from if we tried) and they are still protected, even though I couldn't throw a rock into the pond behind my house without hitting one today.

Instead of simply making myself some suitcases and a nice pair of boots, I had to shell out $8k for a fence to keep these scraggly-toothed dinosaurs from eating my kids. Never mind how many there are. Never mind how many millions of years they have proven their survival instincts. Somebody once wrote their name on a list, and apparently they used a pen, so now the Florida alligator (arguably one of the creatures least in need of help protecting itself) is untouchable.

This is a big win for Polar Bears, but how do I get on one of these lists?

Gene   May 15th, 2008 10:59 am ET

May 14th, 2008 8:22 pm ET


Yah we might just “fittest” ourselves out of existence. You can’t keep treating the environment like a cesspool and not have it eventually come back at you."–


G.W. Sure we can. The survivors will of course be those who adapt to the new cesspool, as opposed to those who are content with the old cesspool. Plenty of examples of this throughout the history of the planet. All life survives at the expense of other life. Nothing personal, just simple biology.

teri   May 15th, 2008 11:25 am ET

Upon reviewing the posts, it is safe to conclude, that mankind and Earth need much work as it applies to the ecology of our living, ecosystem dependent planet. Almost everyone is ecologically illiterate.

The gravest issue facing man and Earth, is the failure to recognize that all aspects of life, from bears to man, are alive because of biological diversity, i.e., the strands in the web of all life, just like polar bears, grizzly bears, songbirds and microorganisms that maintain and create a life-giving soil to cycles of pumping oxygen and fresh water to life itself, and the stability and lives of Earth's ecosystems, the extantion of ecosystems and their biological diversity or native animals and plants that evolved in a particular ecosystem. No law, issue or concern is as grave as the conservation and salvation of biological diversity and ecosystems.

Every foot of ecosystem cleared, disturbed, paved or concreted is dead planet, as life-supporting as the jumble of rocks on Mars. Every animal or native plant that goes extinct, "pushes Earth closer to extinction." The conservation and salvation of biological diversity and ecosystems is mankind's top concern. Nothing can be resolved or saved unless mankind realizes he is alive because of the 'life- support systems", cycles and energy created by ecosystems.

Ecosystems are the living, life-gifting, physical body of Earth, and global warming is only one symptom that Earth is struggling under the weight of more and more too much human-too-muchness. And, ecosystems also create and moderate the climate. Ecological illiteracy is killing Earth. They aren't merely bears; they are the bricks and mortars of man's house, Earth and the rivets of man's spaceship. Illiterate man is Earth's number one rivet popper.

Bob   May 15th, 2008 11:37 am ET

Hey Anthony:

Who was there first? You or the "bad dinosaur" out to eat your kids. Quit your snivelling; if you can buy that nice house off the lakefront you can pay 8K for a fence. Waa, lets those of us who have house that probably cost a tenth of what yours cost shed a tear. Those darn "gators" they ruined the paint job of my BMW's bumber when they decided to cross the road and I hit it.

I'm guessing you'll blame the sharks for attacking people in the water when they kill maybe 5 people per year and we kill over 5 million. Again, who was there first.

I feel for you...

Da Captain   May 15th, 2008 12:29 pm ET

Agree... we need to be working on better forms of energy... but don't tie hands with restrictions to that regard. As far as anyone following suit (china, ect)... don't bet on it... there aren't very many examples of that.
My point on the Dodo was the butterfly effect... without knowing we were the point at which the rats, cats, etc were introduced... but that was a matter of time as man explored the Earth (which was inevitable)... they didn't adapt and away they went... which as hard as that is... it's natural.

Agree again about moving coastlines... however the ice pack in Alaska has been melting at close to the current rate since first recorded in 1740... so the fossil fuel debate isn't over... and if a natural warming period is the call... the point is mute because it's going to happen anyway.

Da Captain   May 15th, 2008 1:08 pm ET

It just occured to me in reading about moving Bears to the Antarctic... (I realize this was likley a joke)

What if we did that... and ten years from now we have to put the Penguin on the list cause the Bears ate them...

Not unlike the afore mentioned Dodo bird...

Food for thought... every action has a reaction...

ecoliterate   May 15th, 2008 2:52 pm ET

Good job, Da Captain. Most recorded extinctions occurred on Earth's islands when European sailors and fishermen introduced, non-native, introduced, transported predators. When the dodo went extinct, the entire ecosystem began its death. A tree, a keystone specie for the ecosystem, was going extinct when scientists recovered it by cultivating the tree in captivity.

The dodo had a job in keeping the ecosystem living as the dodo's principal food was the seed of this tree. The seed's covering was too thick to germinate without the stomach acid of the dodo; when the dodo ate the seed, he prepared it for germination because it passed through its body. Thus, the trees headed for oblivion and the entire system began to collapse.

Of all the alien predators introduced to Earth's islands in this massive wave of extinction, the domestic cat was the number one agent. The domestic cat caused over double the number of these extinctions as the second agent of extinction, the rat. In the USA, domestic cats slaughter 4.5 million birds every day. And, the lion's share of these birds are biological diversity, just like the dodo.

Franko   May 15th, 2008 3:28 pm ET

Human destiny is to warm the Arctic, farm and use the resources.
Take the heat away from the Hurricane prone Trophics.
Have your cake and eat it too !

The inconvenient Polar Bear will have to move on.

Jim   May 15th, 2008 4:14 pm ET

The whole polar bear controversy has been drummed up in order to force "global warming" action.
The "Medieval Warm Period" was much warmer than today, yet the polar bears survived.
...and the medieval warm period was not man-made.
Geez-the earth warms and cools, what a surprise.

Dingus   May 15th, 2008 5:27 pm ET

Brilliant Jim. You and the 20% Bush supporters who do not believe in global warming also think the earth is flat and the war in Iraq is valid. you are so dumb!

Da Captain   May 15th, 2008 6:00 pm ET

I'm certainly no Bush supporter... but am not on board with Man Made global warming... is global warming happening... Yes... are we having a significant effect on that... the jury is out...

The latest science is leaning toward a cooling period... much like the global cooling scare of the 70s... or Ozone scare of the 90s... etc...

If global warming is happening as a natural effect... nothing we do will prevent it...

jh   May 15th, 2008 7:30 pm ET

The article seems to be attacking a straw man. I done know of any one who has NOT agreed that the suspension of hunting was the cause of the bear's rebound. The point is that there is no reason to really assume they are now in such great danger. Polar bears have been around 100-200K years from when they branched from grizzlys, and in that time have survived much warmer periods than the present. Unlike some other species which we know have suffered serious declines, this is mostly speculative. They seem to be being used as a ideological marketing gimmick in this case.

Franko   May 16th, 2008 5:21 am ET

jh: Good analysis and summary of motives

Spirit Bear is British Columbia's official animal
Not an ordinary Black Bear, but a white version.
The Black Bear gets shot, no matter how polite or well behaved.
But to shoot the white version would be desecrating the spirit.

Polar Bear is not just a white version of the Grizzy Bear.
But the best possible real marketting gimmick, since white unicorns do not exist.

Corwin   May 16th, 2008 8:10 am ET

Global warming is a hoax. The global temperatures are actually cooling – but don't let the facts get in the way of your crying.

Place threatened animals on the 'Threatened' list. Polar Bears are not such an animal.

CNN – place Political articles on the Politics page, somehow this one was mislabeled as Science.

Mike   May 16th, 2008 10:10 am ET

The biggest question that I have is why can't people just leave the environment alone when it doesn't need to be disturbed? Why do people insist on hunting animals just to kill them and have a trophy? Leave things alone that don't need to be bothered. Humans need to live too, so we need to do certain things, like grow food, find energy sources, protect ourselves, but why should one group benefit at the expense of others? For instance, when people change their oil and pour the oil down a drain, simply because it is more conveinient for them? This affects all of us just to make their life a little easier. When you see idiots in cars, or walking down the street (yes the street, not the sidewalk) in Camden, NJ throwing trash out of their cars or simply dropping cans and garbage on the street, this affects all of us to make their life a little simpler in that they don't need to find a trash can. Nobody cares until it affects them, but by that time it may be too late for all of us. People are simply stupid and lazy, and as all species go, so will we.

John   May 16th, 2008 1:04 pm ET

Sorry, but what are we to believe? In the 1970's we were told there were 5000 Polar Bears left. The world responded – albeit more quickly or less – and cut back and then banned the hunt. For decades we have worked on the pollution problems blamed for the low population.

Now when the bear population is multiplied to 500%, we are told well, yes, there are more. BUT, they are still in danger. My question: if they are in such danger, how did their population grow over that time period?

So if population increase means being endangered, then my family should be legally protected. Our household grew from 2 to 6 in 5 years and has been plateaud for ten years. Where is my government grant and Greenpeace protective fence?

josh   May 16th, 2008 3:16 pm ET

why do we assume that everything will be so drastic. I doubt polar bears are going to become extinct, even if we didn't list them this scenario is unlikely to happen. Also why all the doomsday scenario's even if the earth continues to heat I it will not create an armagedon end of man type of situation.

V.White   May 16th, 2008 5:08 pm ET

The Polar Bear population should be protected from preditors. Humans being the preditors! Unless they are endagering human loves, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to hunt and kill these creatures.

Trumpet   May 17th, 2008 7:56 pm ET

I think this goes too far.

If the Canadians are willing to allow us to hunt their Polar Bears, why should our goverment care? As long as this hunt doesn't take place in US territory what difference does it make?

This is another instance ingrained, mindless, anti-gun/anti-hunting mentality.

If you don't like hunting, I'm sorry you do. My advice for those who hate hunting: Don't go hunting. Avoid it like the plague!

But please remember: when a youngster and an oldster are hunting together, the lessons learned will serve a lifetime of situations.


Max   May 18th, 2008 5:29 pm ET

Big game hunting should be banned world wide unless necessary for food by locals. It is time we grew beyond killing for fun.

Troy   May 19th, 2008 10:33 am ET

Franko – there's nothing under the Arctic ice pack, just open water. You might gain Greenland and the extreme North of North America and Asia, but that's it. Polar bears live in the Arctic, not the Antarctic...or are you advocating we screw up yet another ecosystem?

Rawhide – Learn the difference between "predicting the weather" and "climate models". Heck, look up the words "weather" and "climate" – the one is hard to forecast, the other follows trends that can be tracked and predicted with some accuracy.

Honestly, I'm glad the polar bear is on the maybe instead of taking the easy route and drilling for more oil, US companies will take a serious look at alternative methods of producing power and running our cars.

Greg, Hamilton Ontario   May 19th, 2008 3:08 pm ET

Why do people keep pointing at global warming and the condition of the ice pack as a cause of concern? Think about this for a second. The seals use the ice to rest on because even being as good swimmers as they are they need to rest. That's when they are vulnerable to the bears ( through holes they use to breath) so if the northern edge of the ice comes south all it means is the bears don't have to go as far out on the ice to hunt. My native freinds tell me the biggest problem they see for the bears is all the garbage the scientific comunity leave in their wake as they study their way across the north. Site see'rs are charged serious money when they are caught doing it but most of the scientists work for goverments and they is nothing anyone can do but pick up after them. It's really sad when the all we have to do is leave them alone and we can't see it. Back off, let them adapt and they will do just fine. Keep putting your nose in and you will kill them for sure.

Da Captain   May 19th, 2008 4:09 pm ET

"Honestly, I’m glad the polar bear is on the list…now maybe instead of taking the easy route and drilling for more oil, US companies will take a serious look at alternative methods of producing power and running our cars."

Oil companies have no interest in that... they're job is oil. The fact that there will be less oil isn't a concern for them or the share holders... as supply goes down... oil goes up... their profits are in tact. You have to remember they get paid the same price for a barrel as the world market. Oil is in short supply... and they make record profits... they aren't worried about not drilling... but would be happy to do it if we let them.

Franko   May 19th, 2008 5:12 pm ET

"there’s nothing under the Arctic ice pack, just open water"
That is the opportunity. Unplug the Bering Straight, we could do.

There is a lot to be gained, slightly cooler tropics, and greatly warmed North.

Antarctica, conveniently plugged, does not waste precious ocean heat to space.

Think the opposite, plug up the Arctic circulation. Another monster IceCap.
But warmer tropics than now ?

We can do the Gaia, not only for us, but also for the Polar Bear.
We like to eat fish. Polar Bears like to eat things that eat fish.
The Polar Bears and Man harvesting, what a partnership !

Robert   May 19th, 2008 11:57 pm ET

Franko your total stupidity astounds me it truly astounds me.

Now everyone think about this Climate change is bad. If you lack the caring for wildlife fine but think about this. The food you eat its grown on farms. Farms have environmental requirements. If the environmental conditions change at an unnatural rate which is happening now farms start to fail. When farms start to fail guess what you don't eat and when you don't eat you get to join the Dodo.

Some rather basic facts.

We do not need oil.
we have not needed oil for awhile now we have plenty of other more friendly power sources.
Disposing of oil dependency will not hurt the economy. The only thing it might hurt is the pockets of oil company executives that refuse to adapt.
Consider this if we replace oil our new energy sources will also require people and generate jobs. many of these sources offer lower cost power than oil as well. lower energy cost stimulate economic growth. Growth results in what? You guessed it more jobs.

It is amazing to me how little people have thought things out. In the span of a few minutes I can develop a full plan to switch over from oil to clean power as well as improve the economy reverse the damage we have done jump start new industry fight the war on terror and improve the US world image all in one nice neat little package.

Its not as hard as people make it out to be.

Da Captain   May 20th, 2008 12:57 pm ET

I'd be interested in that package!

Franko   May 21st, 2008 1:53 am ET

  "Climate change is bad."
Cooler tropics would be good, less airconditioning needed. etc.
Warmer North would be good, more agriculture, less world starvation.

"jump start new industry fight the war on terror and improve the US world image all in one nice neat little package."
Zubrin already has it worked out. Zubrin's plan is sound, all new cars to be Methanol enabled ($50 extra cost only)

Interesting price comparison.. Methanol, althought twice the volume, works out same cost per kilometer..

"You guessed it more jobs."
Jobs are so bad that many as possible are exported.
Some jobs cannot be exported, so Mexicans are imported.

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