Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Polar Bears Declared Threatened

The AP reports:
This is the first time that the Endangered Species Act has been used to protect a species threatened by the impacts of global warming. There has been concern within the business community that such action could have far-reaching impact and could be used to regulate carbon dioxide.
I'm not aware of any animal with a population increase like that seen in polar bears ever having been listed as endangered. USA Today reports that there were about 5,000 polar bears in 1972. Today there are between 20,000 and 25,000 of them. They mention in the same article it is the "first time a healthy species would be considered at risk under the Endangered Species Act and the first time global warming would be officially labeled a species' main threat."

Listing the polar bear as threatened, despite a healthy population, is based on the idea that sea ice is decreasing, despite the fact that NOAA reported sea ice is on the increase--it's at the highest levels since 1979, in fact. To be fair, it's still debated whether ice is decreasing in the Northern hemisphere, and some are arguing that increases in the Southern hemisphere are predicted by climate models. I'll talk about the climate models in another post, but suffice it to say I don't have much faith in them.

What does this unprecedented action do? Listing the polar bear as a threatened species means there are now broad powers to regulate business granted to the government through the Endangered Species Act. This means those who would shut down what's left of our economy based on the hypothesis of human-caused global warming now have abilities they'd never have gotten passed through Congress.

Update: Ecochondriacs are puzzled by more of their projections turning out wrong. Eventually, when your data fails to support your theory repeatedly, it's time to admit you have a flawed theory.

No comments: