Friday, January 05, 2007

John Gibson polar bears as spotted owl theory of environmentalism

John Gibson comments on the polar bears being recommended to be put on the threatened species list... He says the polar bear population increased 25 percent, but environmentalists are using polar bears to slow down emission of greehhouse gases... called the spotted owl theory of environmentalism...,2976,27,00.html

Polar Bears Being Considered for U.S. Endangered List
John Roach
for National Geographic News

February 10, 2006
The Bush Administration yesterday kicked off a process to determine whether polar bears should be added to the United States endangered species list because their habitat is melting.

The action is "a significant acknowledgement of what global warming is doing to the Arctic ice," said Kassie Siegel, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity in Joshua Tree, California.

In December the conservation group, along with Greenpeace and the Natural Resources Defense Council, sued the U.S. government to protect the world's polar bears from extinction.

According to the conservationists, Earth's steadily rising temperature is causing the polar bear's habitat to melt. Many scientists say the warming is due, in part, to human activities such as driving cars and burning coal, which release heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere,

If the bears are given federal protection, they would be the first U.S. mammals officially deemed to be in danger of extinction because of global warming, the conservation groups said.

Rosa Meehan, the chief of marine-mammal protection at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage, Alaska, said the conservation groups presented sufficient information to merit a close look at the status of polar bears...

Polar Bears on Thin Ice, Not Really! Though polar bears are uniquely adapted to the Arctic region, they are not wedded solely to its coldest parts nor are they restricted to a specific Arctic diet. Aside from a variety of seals, they eat fish, kelp, caribou, ducks, sea birds and scavenged whale and walrus carcasses. In addition, as discussed above, Arctic air temperatures were as high as present temperatures in the 1930s and polar bears survived.

The Bear Facts: The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has just put the polar bear on the endangered species list because it is supposedly "facing extinction" — mainly, it claims, as a result of global warming. But statistics show the polar bear is not facing extinction, not by a long shot.

Arctic Ice Melting, Polar Bears Endangered, Govt. Says. The Bush administration wants to add polar bears to the endangered species list as a result of the ice melting in the Arctic. Global warming is being blamed for harming the bears' habitat, but global warming skeptics are unconvinced...

The polar bear debate
Fri, 01/05/2007 - 3:50pm.
Even if you missed the WSJ's take this week about the announcement that the big fuzzy white predators will be classified as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, you can probably guess they weren't so enthusiastic. They borrowed the global warming camp's classic charge that politics wrongly trumps science in the American debate, citing a growing polar bear population over the last few decades as evidence that the threat to the "majestic" carnivore isn't real. It's all political manipulation, they cried, and it could lead us down the dangerous road to (gasp!) federally mandated reductions in greenhouse gases...

When polar bears are political pawns
January 5, 2007
Normally, when parties settle a lawsuit, each side makes some concessions. Which is why it's puzzling, to say the least, that the Bush administration asked for so little when it abandoned a legal fight with environmental groups over the role of the Endangered Species Act in protecting polar bears.
The bears are already protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. That law prevents anyone from attempting to "harass, hunt, capture or kill" polar bears and other animals covered by the act, such as porpoises and manatees. It also severely limits the importation and sale of trophies or other products from the covered species.

Nor is the bear population in alarming decline - if it is in decline at all. And developers obviously aren't building subdivisions across the tundra and threatening bear habitat.

So what's going on? Placing the bears under the jurisdiction of the species act would give environmentalists added legal leverage to target the construction of U.S. power plants anywhere in the country that use fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases that arguably might contribute to the melting of the polar icecaps. The goal would be to get regulators and courts to impose an energy diet on the nation without the input of elected lawmakers and without any assurance that the economically crippling policy would boost polar bear populations.

In its settlement, the Interior Department agreed to "study" for at least another year whether polar bears should be listed. That study is considered a mere formality. Polar bears will almost certainly be covered by the species act, about the time President Bush leaves office...,2777,DRMN_23964_5257331,00.html

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