Thursday, May 15, 2008

Washington lists polar bear as threatened

© By Othmar Vohringer

Yesterday’s announcement by U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne declaring the polar bear as a threatened species came as a bit of a surprise. Only a month ago the government announced that it had no inclination to make a decision on the polar bear. This must be the quickest turn about in political history.

Kempthorne said that the melting ice cap makes this step necessary. It is predicted that by the year 2050 the habitat of the polar bear will be lost due to melting of the ice and this in turn could cause the extinction of the polar bear.

I wonder what made the U.S. government take this drastic step simply based on guesswork of what might be happening by the year 2050. Was it a cosmetic decision? I am inclined to think so especially considering that Dirk Kempthorne announced in the same breath that the listing of the polar bear on the endangered species list would not affect further oil exploration in the Artic and Alaska. Neither will America enforce any other laws and regulations to lower greenhouse gases, the very cause that melts the ice in the Arctic. Kempthorne said that considering such regulations and laws “would be a wholly inappropriate.”

One has to ask what is the point of listing the polar bear if the destruction of its habitat is still permitted by drilling oil in the Artic and polluting the air with the very gases that melt the ice? Is it possible that the American government has bowed to animal rights and environmentalist and their junk science? It’s absolutely possible and wouldn’t be the first time either.

Canada has opposed the listing of the polar bear and made it known that there are no such plans in the near future. Canada is home to two thirds of the world’s polar bear population estimated to be in the neighborhood of 30,000. According to Canadian scientists the polar bear population is still steadily growing and should to be controlled through hunting. The U.S. government’s move to list the polar bear will be hardest felt by the people of Nunavut. The Arctic Inuit people complain the U.S. listing will deter hunters who spend millions of dollars a year for the right to shoot the animals. Paul Okalik, premier of the Nunavut territory where most polar bears live, said populations were at a record level.

Under the listing policy the American hunters are not permitted to take polar bear fur or any other parts back to the United States. The listing of the polar bear as a threatened species is far from settled. Legal battles surrounding the polar bear listing soon will begin. There is hope that during these legal battles common sense will prevail over political cosmetics and feel good decisions.

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Kris said...

This is truly ridiculous! The listing of these bears is based solely on a presumption that global warming is happening, when in fact it cannot be proven. This is a move that shows the federal government is going to bow to radical environmentalists at every opportunity!

SimplyOutdoors said...

I'm with Kris as well. This is complete hogwash. It is all based on speculation.

To go one step further I think that the whole endangered species act needs to be completely revamped.

To decide this based on a few theories is just ridiculous. What ever happened to science.

Matt said...

Good post Othmar. You have a way of going beyond the usual reactions to this type of thing and presenting a well-reasoned, thought-provoking point of view.

Keep up the good work!

NorCal Cazadora said...

So Washington wants to protect poloar bears that are threatened by melting icecaps by putting them on the endangered species list, rather than by trying to reverse human contributions to global warming? Brilliant.

I don't hunt polar bears, and I'm not hankering to (though I'm old enough never to say never). And I'm all for protecting dwindling species. But this doesn't sound very well thought-out.

CDGardens said...

I really have a problem with the theory,yet to be scientifically proven, of global warming.

The earth has always had years of cold,or tropical temperatures, wet or dry cycles.

All of the sudden these things that don't go at a constant, reliable source of weather becomes global warming.

Man gives himself to much credit in how the natural
rhythm of the earth progresses...

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thank you all for your comments. I am glad that I am not the only one that does not approve of the decision the U.S. government made in regard to polar bears.

What really gave it away for me was the fact the polar bear has been simply listed as threatened but no further commitments have been made to protect the bear’s environment. This is very unusual.

I also fully agree with cdgardens opinion on global warming. If we look at the history of earth and how our planet developed we can see that the planet constantly undergoes climate changes. I too believe that, although humans may have some influence, it is insignificant. Besides who are we do believe? Not so many years ago we were told that the planet was cooling down and that we’re faced with another ice age. The way I see it the hype about global warming has more to do with the creation of new economies, products and commerce.

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