Twenty good reasons not to worry about polar bears and climate change

Via Dr. Susan Crockford at

PB  logo coloured Here’s a new resource for cooling the polar bear spin, all in one place. I’ve updated and expanded my previous summary of reasons not to worry about polar bears, which is now two years old. In it, you’ll find links to supporting information (including previous blog posts of mine that provide background, maps and extensive references), although some of the most important graphs and maps have been copied into the summary. I hope you find it a useful resource for refuting the spin and tuning out the cries of doom and gloom about the future of polar bears — please feel free to share. Pdf here of the text below.

This is the 1st anniversary of Canada providing population estimates and trends independent of the pessimistic prognostications of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) — so let’s celebrate the recent triumphs and resilience of polar bears to their ever-changing Arctic environment.

AK PB N Shore-USFWS Barrow_labeled

1) Polar bears are still a conservation success story — with a global estimate almost certainly greater than 25,000, we can say for sure that there are more polar bears now than there were 40 years ago (Fig. 1). Sadly, although completing a global survey was one of the primary objectives of the PBSG at its inception 47 years ago, it has still not provided one. The current PBSG estimate is about 20,000-25,000 bears, although with several subpopulations still uncounted (Fig. 1), the actual figure is almost certainly a good deal higher (e.g. see point #3). Even with this lack of precision, the global estimate is too high to qualify the polar bear as ‘threatened’ with extinction based on current population levels – all of the concerns expressed regarding polar bears are about the future.

Figure 1. Upper graph uses totals reported in PBSG status tables (to 2013), with min/max; Lower graph uses the same figures, but adds back in the so-called "inaccurate" estimates dropped between 2005 and 2013 (in 2014, the PBSG finally did the same). The 1960 figure * is a ballpark estimate.

2) The most recent status assessment for polar bears, published by Environment Canada in May 2014, shows only two subpopulations are “likely in decline,” down from four listed by the PBSG as declining in 2013 and seven in 2010 (Fig. 2). Baffin Bay earns its ‘likely decline’ status due to suspicions of over-harvesting (so far not confirmed), not sea ice decline. And the recent assessment of Southern Beaufort bears (see point #7 below), which was based on a newly-formulated (i.e. untested) population estimate model that used a truncated data set, recorded a decline acknowledged to have been caused by thick ice conditions in spring, not summer ice declines.

Figure 2. Most recent global polar bear population status assessment (far right), using figures from the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group assessment (2013) and Environment Canada (May 2014). Note that of the two subpopulations denoted as being on a likely declining trend, BB (Baffin Bay) is suspected to be declining due to over-hunting and SB (Southern Beaufort) had an unfinished rebound caused by thick spring ice conditions in 2004-2006; a more recent survey (2012) indicated SB numbers were higher than the previous 10 years. Note the improvement since 2010 (upper left) and even 2013 (lower left). Note also the number of regions considered “data deficient,” which have had no population survey or no recent one.

More here:


66 thoughts on “Twenty good reasons not to worry about polar bears and climate change

  1. I think it is prudent to eradicate ALL polar bears to prevent the massive greenhouse butt gasses these enormous creatures emit. (do I need a sarc tag?)

  2. Thank you, Dr. Crockford, for so generously sharing your hard work, that most powerful weapon against Envirostalinism: FACTS.

    And your work will endure. “Facts are stubborn things.” (John Adams)

    @ Moder-ator: btw, WUWT is taking …. like….. FOR-EVER…. to launch in my Explorer browser (and it is definitely not my set, heh). Just a heads up in case it’s something to look into.

    • You could try a different browser – eq, firefox or chrome or safari. Plus with chrome and safari you can get the (free unless you want to donate) addon “adblock”. BTW, I hate Internet Explorer ;-)

    • Also read Jim Steele’s book, Landscapes and Cycles which tells the bear story, they actually do not like thick ice because the seals do not give berth on thick ice. So no food for the bear. Good book by a new sceptic and his convertion by non science of the alarmists.

      • By Max Photon!

        Nicely done. Fun “propped up” symbolism. Thanks for sharing.

        You should submit more cartoons to WUWT when you’re in the mood, like Josh does (so we can all have fun commenting about them).

        Lol, the binary salute, heh — that would be a good last panel after one (or ones) in which a software engineer’s attempts to explain something logically are rejected by the stick people based on their stubborn, emotion-based, obtuseness and who then say (upon the engineer’s giving the salute): “Something in binary… .” (or something like that).

        And! Your link to Prof. F.’s fascinating math blog makes me want to come back and learn! Are “step numbers” (I didn’t have the brain power this evening to read far enough) like the “postage stamp function” I remember learning in high school calculus? I always thought that was so neat that a graph could end up in steps just from a certain “formula.” And, indeed! God’s mind (“nature” as referred to by you) is SO much bigger than digital. Math…. is like WOW! Computers can’t handle it, lol. And the structure of a cell!!! Bill Gates has a quote about that, something like: “Our ability to code is not even CLOSE to the complexity of the files/folders/duplication, etc… of DNA replication.” {quoted by Stephen Meyers in a video about the structure of the cell}

        And… while you reveled in the quantity of “chicks” in college/grad school… I hope you have by now found one “chick” for life. Why do you guys want more than one, ever?? Most of us women, since we were teenagers, just longed to meet “my guy.” Not guys. Okay — together now, in unison, with a disgusted head shake:

        Me: Men.
        You: Women.



      • How to Get a Neat Photo Like Max’s to Appear Here:

        1. RIGHT click on photo.
        2. In drop down menu, LEFT click on “Copy”
        3. In WUWT comment box, simultaneously type: Ctrl – v.

        (Test on WUWT “Test” page first — not all photos successfully copy to WordPress using this method in my limited experience).

      • How to Get a Neat Photo Like Max’s to Appear Here:

        Use a proper browser (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, etc…., but not IE).

      • On a slightly more serious note, it isn’t a good idea to insert pictures instead of links on a web site unless you own the picture – see Lucia’s site for some horror stories about content owners who will sue any site that embeds material instead of just linking to it.

  3. Wow! We apparently have an actual undisputed fact in the climate debate. CAGW HAS NOT MOVED POLAR BEARS TO THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION.

    Now let’s see how long (if ever) this percolates into the MSM…

  4. 21) Polar bears find any enviro-whacko that attempts to run up and hug them both tasty and nutritious.

    • Whoa there Mr McGuirck. Before you go adding “facts”, has your claim passed peer review yet?
      It very well could be that polar bears find enviro-whacko as repulsive as we do, no?


  5. I tire of the endless drama about global warming, it makes terrible theater… But it has been the only show in town. On stage two actors argue endlessly over the price for taking care of our CO2 garbage… One actor demands $1 trillion dollars per year from the recalcitrant customer and the haggling argument ensues.

    Meanwhile out of the blue a practical affordable alternative becomes available, instead of the $100 dollar per ton cost to manage societies 10 billion tons of CO2 per year the cost just might be just one penny per tonne. And the new attraction/technology offers all the free fish you can eat…

    Restoring ocean pastures will save the world and bring back the fish. As a bonus you get to watch a video made on Neil Young’s ship Ragland as a few American’s work to do something to save the earth. Read more on how to get your ticket to the new show at

    • Your underlying premise makes your point moot:

      CO2 is not “garbage” by any stretch of the imagination.

      The CO2 is plant food. {}

      btw: the earth does not need “saving.”

      • Oh please… is all that you have to say is semantic nit-picking… surely my work is all about CO2 being plant food, ocean plant food. But anything can be bad, or using literary license ‘garbage’, if that substance is too much or in the wrong form. When there are not enough ocean plants to eat your ‘CO2 plant food’ (I will grant you the literary license to use the word food) then that CO2 binds to water to makes acid… H2O+CO2=H2CO3 (carbonic acid). It’s that acid that is killing ocean plant life… meanwhile our high and rising CO2 is “feeding” plants on land which is causing global greening which keeps vital mineral dust from nurturing ocean pastures… Here’s a letter I wrote to my favorite climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer who refers to global greening

        The point is that at the cost of one penny per ton we can all afford to deal with fossil CO2 and enjoy the bounty of sea food it will produce.

      • Dear Russ George,

        Since you have not provided one scintilla of evidence for ANY of your wild assertions made in the hysterical style of the Henny Penny, I have decided that you are just being silly for the fun of it.

        Thanks for the chuckle.

        And KEEP ON POSTING! #(:))

        Yours, smiling (“{just} one penny a ton…” lol),


        [Better one penny than “one ton o’ mayo’… Qua-key-mayo! One-key-o-mayo” … .mod]

      • LOL — Yes! I know that “the Henny Penny” is incorrect! (and saw it .5 sec. too late oooh, well!) …. I’ll blame it on you…. made me think about “THE” penny, heh.

      • Ha, ha, ha,ha,ha… oh, MOD! #(:))

        Thanks for being silly!

        Russ George must have had a gig down at the Comedy Club … or something… . Come back, Russ George! Come back!

        (song) “Guantanamera” — for you who also were wondering… .

    • Janice; russ’ project appears to be one of mitigation rather then mindless AGW hand wringing. I think he used a poor choice of words. They probably were better suited to the AGW crowd. Anything that makes more fish & Oxygen is a good thing.
      Now my question to you russ george is how soon can you get to work on restoring Cod catchs?
      I really like my fish&chips.


      • Hi, Mike! #(:))

        Well…. until Jimbo, researcher extraordinaire, shows up… (and he may not bother to address this one) … he just exposed the shakiness of this particular geoengineering scheme here:

        Jimbo says (of a like proposal) at Feb. 11, 9:46pm on this thread:

        {Note: you might want to re-read the comments for that thread debunking geoengineering “mitigation” — good education for me, anyway}:

        Louis, “120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast Pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom which in turn would provide ample food for baby salmon” is locally targeted and is not aimed at changing our climate. Imagine millions of tons of iron sulfate spread out on a wider basis. What would the outcome be? You don’t know and neither do I.

        And also,

        Fertilizing the oceans with iron sulfate can cause toxic red tides and harmful algal blooms. It can lead to deep-water oxygen depletion and harm food webs. All for the sake of the Salmon (unproven).


        CAVEAT: Beware anyone on this site who promotes an idea that requires you to put up money (even just “one penny per ton”). Russ is all about MAKING MONEY.

        You, dear Mike, are about being fair (Russ is just full of oil and vinegar) and you are so trustworthy that you trust Russ. Don’t. Keep warm and… enjoy your cod with gusto (and don’t worry — we can farm it very well).

        Your WUWT ally for truth,


        P.S. Remember: “‘Geoengineering’ is the Precautionary Fallacy re-invented.

        PF: Worse-than-useless prevention.
        GE: Worse-than-useless cure.

        — BOTH for a non-existent malady
        — BOTH {highly likely to} do great harm
        for NO benefit.”

    • This is the type of thinking we need imo. I doubt myself co2 is an issue, likely solely a benefit. Overfishing, especially for some regions certainly is, and Ive argued for similar things as this before. Artificial reefs have improved areas remarkably as well, taking an area over previous carrying capacity. Keep up the good fight.

  6. How long before the Ringed Seal conservationists insist on a Polar Bear cull? Just kidding. But when one considers the calls for culling humans in the name of environmentalism, maybe not.

  7. If asked, 97 % of polar bears would probably agree that more polar hearts are melting and the average temperature is rising.
    even if the weather is getting colder

  8. Which approach will bring money into Polar bear research, their doomed or their fine , once you answered that question you will understand why ‘threatened’ with extinction is actual good thing to have has a claim .
    Therefore way so little effort is made to change the situation .

    • Money. Your point is, practically speaking, right on, no doubt. They COULD, to get funding for legitimate polar bear research, pretend (i.e., to the extent they assert “extinction” it would be “pretend”), HOWEVER, that the “extinction” was due to over-hunting instead of lying about human CO2 emissions… .

      But, we mustn’t forget the Enviroprofiteer part of the game — THEY are the real money bags, here. They use the government (with its control of funding), the Envirostalinists, to create via the scientists-for-hire the propaganda that promotes the voters voting over and over for the Envirostalinists who will fund their windmill/solar/”mitigation” schemes.

      So, it has to be: human CO2 = polar bear death to the point of extinction!!!.


      The “root of many kinds of ev1l,” indeed.

  9. Polar bears survived the Eemian Interglacial which peaked about 125,000 years ago and the global temperatures were 3 C warmer than today’s; and, Arctic sea ice was at a much lesser extent than it is now. In the Arctic region, the temperature there is estimated to have been about 6 C warmer during the Eemian than today. I am betting if anything, the coldest part of the last glaciation period, about 50,000 years ago, may have brought the polar bears closer to extinction than did the warmest part of the Eemian period.

    • JimS, 125,000 years ago is going back too far. The Arctic was ‘ice free’ 9,000 to 5,000 years B.P. during some summers which could have lasted for a “millenium or more”.

      During the last glaciation they seem to have sought refuge in Alaska. Some say they could have done this as hybrids.

      Polar bears aren’t going anywhere so just let’s all ignore these idiotic warmists. They are defending their lavish funding against cuts. Imagine if they said polar bear populations are doing well and they are not threatened. THEY would go extinct (polar bear climastrologists).

  10. Thank you Dr Crockford for providing us with the facts about the Polar Bear. In the never ending hysteria without facts from those engaged in false narratives, it is helpful to have reliable rejoinders.

  11. Thanks for this, Dr. Crockford. But how long before the spin becomes ”Climate change causes polar bear population explosion” I seem to remember another ”Bear” story where, the temperature (of the porridge) had to be just right.

    Best regards, Eamon.

    • Hi, Eamon,

      Very clever… you’ve gotten inside the minds of those cons.

      And! If they try THAT one… we’ll knock ’em back (once again) with more FACTS!

      Best wishes in your writing for truth (about nuclear power, last time — yea! — and other issues),


  12. Dr Crawford:
    Thank you for the work. We do appreciate it.

    The ringed seals do not appreciate it.
    The penguins do not appreciate it.
    The brown bears are not sure. Yet.

    Technically, though: There are no bears in the interior of Greenland, right? (No food, I’d guess.)
    But both coasts? Iceland? European north?

  13. ‘Harvesting” Polar bears? Is this a nice way of saying that they are hunted ? I always thought you harvested a food source, if that’s what polar bears are it puts a different spin on the issue.

    • Bears are made of meat and all meat is edible, though I understand there is at least one type of hominid that we cant fully digest. While I generally don’t care for it beyond some jerky or a few types of sausage I know Yupiks and other folk in that part of the world have more of a history of eating them (and being eating by them for that matter).

    • The OVER-HUNTING ‘ban’ (except by native peoples) is what is giving warmists a headache with rising numbers of polar bears since 1973. Now imagine if there was a total ban, they would probably be considered a pest.

      Abstract – 16-Mar-2013
      Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Barents Sea area : population biology and linkages to sea ice change, human disturbance and pollution

      …The initial threat to polar bears in the region was unquestionably overharvest. Polar bear numbers were reduced quite drastically and hunting was clearly not sustainable. After the harvesting was stopped, the population grew in size to an estimated 2650 (1900-3600) in 2004. We believe that population recovery led to a wider distribution of maternity denning in the Svalbard Archipelago, compared to the period just after the protection of the population in 1973….

      Abstract – 19 FEB 2013
      Population ecology of polar bears in Davis Strait, Canada and Greenland
      ………. However, because we now understand that polar bear demography can also be influenced by progressive change in the environment, and some populations have increased to greater densities than historically lower numbers, a broader suite of factors should be considered in demographic studies and management. We analyzed 35 years of capture and harvest data from the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulation in Davis Strait, including data from a new study (2005–2007), to quantify its current demography. We estimated the population size in 2007 to be 2,158 ± 180 (SE), a likely increase from the 1970s……

  14. Dr Susan Crockford deserves a prize for her quietly determined effort to let the facts speak for themselves regarding Polar Bears. Keep it up, Susan! Amazing work which I hope will one day be recognised for its contribution to upholding ‘truth in science’ in the face of so much obfuscation and deliberate dissembling from the CAGW zealots.

  15. As of last night there is enough ice water in the great lakes to bring the temperature of all the world’s oceans down by about 0.12 degrees C, according to my computer model, (which was done in EXCEL, but it still counts, cause it’s a model, and I ran it on a computer). Doesn’t that nullify any claim of “heat” being stored in the oceans?

    And thanks Dr Crockford

  16. Polar bear and cub spotted along the north coast of Newfoundland yesterday (Feb 19).

    Another sign of many bears in southern Davis Strait perhaps?

    “David Mugford, of St. Carols, couldn’t help but be a little taken back when his small duck hunting group headed out on nearby Crow Head and ventured across two polar bears – a mother and cub – this morning.

    “They weren’t very far from us when we spotted them,” he said. “We watched them for a little while and then they got out into the water and swam out to the ice. It looked like they were heading north the last time we saw them.”

    Map here,_Newfoundland_and_Labrador


  17. Perhaps, Mama Bear and Baby Bear (seen around 50° N) are headed back north after their little camping trip at Lake Superior (about 48 N) where they found plenty of ice {}.

  18. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:

    While it is good to ensure we don’t kill off the polar bears by hunting, it is important to remember these things are hungry and mean. They will kill and eat you. They do kill and eat anything they can catch, including snowy owls. Sure, snowy owls are well able to fend for themselves, but anything that kills such beautiful creatures obviously has its drawbacks.

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