Polar Bears Hate Al Gore

It would seem that polar bears can be added to the lists of groups that consider Al Gore irrelevant.  You will recall that including polar bears on endangered species lists has been an topic of much debate.  I believe they currently are listed as an endangered species because of the immanent threat of global warming climate change.  If only the polar bears were listening.  (Hat tip: Althouse.)

The number of bears along the western shore of Hudson Bay, believed to be among the most threatened bear subpopulations, stands at 1,013 and could be even higher, according to the results of an aerial survey released Wednesday by the Government of Nunavut. That’s 66 per cent higher than estimates by other researchers who forecasted the numbers would fall to as low as 610 because of warming temperatures that melt ice faster and ruin bears’ ability to hunt. The Hudson Bay region, which straddles Nunavut and Manitoba, is critical because it’s considered a bellwether for how polar bears are doing elsewhere in the Arctic.

The study shows that “the bear population is not in crisis as people believed,” said Drikus Gissing, Nunavut’s director of wildlife management. “There is no doom and gloom.”

The point here is not that this somehow proves that climate change is a hoax but rather that systems with a global scale are complex.  There are whole series of questions that need to be asked in a scientific manner.  Are temperatures increasing?  How much are they increasing?  Are these increases part of a natural cycle or have they been influenced by human behavior?  What percentage of the changes is the result of human behavior?  If human behavior is changed, what would the resultant effect be on temperature change?  What if only part of the population–say China continues it’s current industrial explosion–changes behavior?  What are the effects on the environment if the climate “changes” as it is currently changing?

This polar data point relates to that last question.  Either the polar ice fields aren’t disappearing as predicted and/or polar bears are able to adapt to changing conditions better than “scientists” suggested.

The lesson is of course that you shouldn’t add a species to the endangered species on a gut feeling, or to push a political agenda, or because you believe they have to be in danger because these horrible things have to be happening.  The world is a complex place.  It’s easy to draw a box with a couple of arrows and say if A goes up, then B goes down.  But such simple relationships rarely hold in the real world.

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