Is the demise of polar bears being exaggerated to keep extinction panic alive?

Reposted from Polar Bear Science

Posted on July 25, 2020 |

An excellent summary of recent points I’ve made in my latest book and on this blog about the recent push to keep polar bear extinction panic alive with a new model of impending doom was published two days ago in the Spectator UK by columnist Ross Clark (23 July 2020, in Coffee House).

Svalbard polar bear fall 2015_Aars

Excerpt below:

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could debate climate change for five minutes without hearing about polar bears or being subjected to footage of them perched precariously on a melting ice floe? But that is a little too much to expect. Polar bears have become the pin-ups of climate change, the poor creatures who are supposed to jolt us out of thinking about abstract concepts and make us weep that our own selfishness is condemning these magnificent animals to a painful and hungry end.”

Read the whole thing here.

PS. I noticed Clark refers to me as an anthropologist. I have requested a correction because I am a zoologist.

114 thoughts on “Is the demise of polar bears being exaggerated to keep extinction panic alive?

  1. I read that Algore has been drowning more cartoon polar bears. We’re going to need a lot more artists to make certain they don’t go extinct.

  2. Is the demise of polar bears being exaggerated to help keep climate alarm alive? You bet, as are claims of worsening storms, forest fires, floods, droughts and others, even though none are worsening.

  3. How many millions of species have gone extinct to make room for the privileged ones now in existence? Are the current crop now to be spared that indignity for all time just because they exist here and now? Who is to judge which are dispensable enough to create the space needed for those who will be even more adaptable?

      • Nor should humans intervene to save a poorly adapted specie.
        And an argument could be made for human existence and behaviour being part and parcel of the environment to which at risk species must adapt or perish, just as they must to the predation of other species. If we are not part of all that is in that way then our hubris sets us apart as special, privileged, responsible, in charge: the ‘human burden’, echoing the systemic racism of ‘the white man’s burden’.

        • Saving failing species is part of the need that nothing change. The delusion that climate never changed until we broke it and thus, that we can fix ( and therefore control ) it, reflects our need for constancy in our slowly evolving universe and the absence of rapid catastrophic change.

          That need is rooted in the inability in our culture to deal with death.

          • GREG: Spot on. For evidence: The End of Nature by Bill McKibben. Imaginary pristine state of nature where everything is in balance except for the polluting influence of humans. Pure rubbish. Reading this book turned me from being an environmentalist to being a conservationalist.

      • No. Under “Darwinism” nature decides who is weak.

        Any new circumstances will result in adaptation or extinction.

        • Are you saying humans are not natural or part of nature?
          So what we won the darwinism contest and are now above it 🙂

          Sorry No, like all species we have an impact and other species must have the ability to compete, survive, and reproduce aka compete thru natural selection. If you like consider human a huge indiscriminate predator.

          • “So what we won the darwinism contest and are now above it 🙂”

            We change our environment to suit us, instead of adapting to the environment (air conditioning, heating, weather-specific clothing). We nurture the “weak” instead of letting them become predator food.

        • Modern society spends MILLIONS supporting the weak. The weak thrive. We support the genetically defective (no fault of theirs), they survive and propagate. We use modern surgery to deliver babies from women who cannot give birth naturally and many more ……That is what we call civilisation. Is it survival of the fittest or weakest?

          • They are just beneficiaries the same occurs in nature, there are plenty of animals that profit from the behaviour of another. Civilization just makes you more insulted and vulnerable, you would think the current covid situation would make you realize that.

          • There is nothing funnier than listening to an animal science professor lecture a class of, mostly (say, 70%), young men about desirable physical characteristics in female domestic animals (cows, sheep, horses, pigs, etc), and then note that these same principals can be utilized in selecting a woman to court for marriage. Especially funny a decade after the fact, when my wife was a 20-something single mother and something of an object lesson on those qualities.

  4. Exaggerated? Yes.

    For the Extinction Panic? Don’t know.

    As long as man does not hunt them to extinction, they will be fine. Polar Bears are eating machines – literally eat anything they can catch. They aren’t picky – meat, fish, berries, man, each other…

  5. The demise of the poor polar bear made the front page of today’s (26 Jul 2020) El Tiempo, the principle paper here in Colombia.

  6. Something that does not exist can’t be exagerated, isn’t it ?

    For the demise of polar bears to be exagerated, it should be first of all confirmed that their population is decreasing.

  7. The UNTRUE demise of polar bears being exaggerated to keep the extortion racket going….send £££s to save polar bears (& get a free cuddly toy).

  8. I thought polar bear misinformation had been laid to rest by Susan Crock Ford and others several years ago. Obviously “science” does not matter to the alarmists, it is all spin with political change as the objective.

  9. “ PS. I noticed Clark refers to me as an anthropologist. I have requested a correction because I am a zoologist.”

    These days, that depends where you live. The way people are behaving in some cities — Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Minneapolis — this is a distinction without a difference.

  10. Why is it wonderful that polar bears eat baby seals and I’m supposed to feel bad about barbecuing a beef steak?

  11. Uh, read that headline again. Are polar beats really in demise? I seem to recall that they are INCREASING in population.

  12. That bear has obviously eaten way too many carbs, and needs to go on the Atkins diet. Sheesh. No self-control.

  13. RE: “Is the demise of polar bears being exaggerated to help keep climate alarm alive?

    Do large ursine mammals defecate on otherwise pristine polar pack ice?

  14. The entire Climate Change (CC) narrative is not about truth. It is about persuasion. And in the Left’s persuasion of the public opinion about Climate Change if lies need to be told, that’s okay, because for the Left that pushes the CC alarmist narrative, the lies (means) and justified by the End. Any honest examination of the university “Climate Communication” programs that have sprung up on many campuses in the last dozen years will show that they are is all centered around emotional appeals and the soft psychology of creating echo chambers where information like this presented by Dr Crockford is actively excluded to target audiences.

    The Left doesn’t want debate on their CC lies and half-truths that use cherry-picked data and dates with abandon. The Arctic Sea ice-polar bear extinction lie is just a small part of the bigger set of lies pushed to use irrational emotions that block rational considerations to persuade the public to the Socialists’ cause.

    So kudos to Susan for her successes in pushing the truth that many polar bear populations are healthy and expanding, contrary to the CC half-truths. And that other PB populations are not changing to any degree of certainty in either direction. All counter the deception the Left is pushing on this species. She is not fighting a scientific battle, because if the PB population status claims were truly about science, the battle was over 10 years ago for the CC crusaders. Rather the battle Dr Crockford is fighting is against deception and propaganda campaigns waged by people who are NOT scientists, even if they claim to be along with their institution.

        • You can’t really be calling nature a science journal, since 2001 it is affectionately called the journal of tripe. It began publishing fiction in 1999 because it needed to broaden it’s readership and many of it’s main articles bear little difference.

    • Their Abstract states,

      Estimating when different subpopulations will likely begin to decline has not been possible to date because data linking ice availability to demographic performance are unavailable for most subpopulations2 and unobtainable a priori for the projected but yet-to-be-observed low ice extremes.”

      If you’ve followed the literature then you immediately would recognize that as an admission of failure of their previous conclusions.

      How many times do you you need a hypothesis to fail before you reject it?

      Apparently in the pseudoscience world of the authors it is simply, “As many times as needed.” They just write a new paper to move the goalposts forward and know the corrupt media won’t call them on their never-ending fraud against science and the public.

      • For example, the 2009 USA National Climate Assessment definitively claimed, “About two-thirds of the world’s polar bear are projected to be gone by the of this century. It is projected there will be no wild polar bears in Alaska in 75 years.” (ref: page 86, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, 2009)

        That USGS assessment was parroted by these same pseudoscientists you now think are doing “real science.” Yet they never go back and admit they were wrong then. So why do we need to keep believing them and their failed projections?

        It is very similar to the situation of pseudoscientists like Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Dessler projecting “permadroughts” in Texas and California that are now quite falsified. Yet somehow they still are out beating their Climate Alarmism drums, getting nicely rewarding paychecks, and nobody in the Press is calling them on their rentseeking Charlatan behavior.

    • Not only that, but in the Abstract they make the blanket assumption that declining sea-ice means declining polar bear populations:

      “Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) require sea ice for capturing seals and are expected to decline range-wide as global warming and sea-ice loss continue1,2”

      And refs 1 & 2 each make the same assumption:

      1) On the basis of projected losses of their essential sea-ice habitats, a United States
      Geological Survey research team concluded in 2007 that two-thirds of the world’s polar
      bears (Ursus maritimus) could disappear by mid-century if business-as-usual greenhouse
      gas emissions continue

      2) Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout
      their range.

      Where did that assumption originate and where is the data to support the proposition that variable sea ice is such a direct and inescapable requirement for polar bear survival?

      It seems the argument being made by Ms. Crockford goes directly to that underlying assumption. Perhaps it is not correct, and the data seems to support her view.

      The tragedy for climate “science” alarmism is that, if correct, and summer sea ice has little to no effect on polar bears, “another one bites the dust”.

    • This is the funniest paper ever. Here are the pertinent phrases:

      will likely begin to decline
      demographic performance are unavailable
      unobtainable a priori for the projected but yet-to-be-observed low ice extremes
      by estimating the threshold numbers
      Intersecting these fasting impact thresholds with projected numbers
      demographic impacts will likely occur
      Our model captures
      thresholds may already
      also suggests
      unlikely to prevent

      So you have things that are likely to occur and others that are unlikely, unavailable performance records, unobtainable non observations, and you estimate with projected numbers and have impacts that will likely occur (or not) based on models that suggest things!!!!!

      HA HA HA Please, you call this science? And have the temerity to impune Dr. Crockford because she uses actual observations and facts and doesn’t project anything?

    • Real science journal, eh? More like propaganda hack/rag.

      But it’s convincing to idiots, who can’t even claim to be a wannabe.

    • It’s the real Henry.
      Article is paywalled, Henry. But, after reading the abstract, it’s models all the way down:

      Abstract
      Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) require sea ice for capturing seals and are expected to decline range-wide as global warming and sea-ice loss continue1,2. Estimating when different subpopulations will likely begin to decline has not been possible to date because data linking ice availability to demographic performance are unavailable for most subpopulations2 and unobtainable a priori for the projected but yet-to-be-observed low ice extremes3. Here, we establish the likely nature, timing and order of future demographic impacts by estimating the threshold numbers of days that polar bears can fast before cub recruitment and/or adult survival are impacted and decline rapidly. Intersecting these fasting impact thresholds with projected numbers of ice-free days, estimated from a large ensemble of an Earth system model4, reveals when demographic impacts will likely occur in different subpopulations across the Arctic. Our model captures demographic trends observed during 1979–2016, showing that recruitment and survival impact thresholds may already have been exceeded in some subpopulations. It also suggests that, with high greenhouse gas emissions, steeply declining reproduction and survival will jeopardize the persistence of all but a few high-Arctic subpopulations by 2100. Moderate emissions mitigation prolongs persistence but is unlikely to prevent some subpopulation extirpations within this century.

      Not very impressive.

  15. I have read that polar bears are one of the most dangerous mammals in the world. When a man meets one it is always on a plain, and the bears can outrun men.

    Animals that eat people have never been popular. Wolves ran wild in Great Britain until the middle of the thirteenth century, when they were finally and deliberately hunted to extinction. Each noble owed the king a levy of wolf pelts, to be paid each year. After the wolves were gone, nobody seemed to miss them much.

    • The environment missed them as it has with Beavers, Kites, Eagles and many others. Man interferes at his peril although it can take a long time for this to become apparent.

    • Taking Great Britain as a whole wolves survived way beyond the 13th century probably to the 18th and possibly 19th in the remotest parts of Scotland. Wol es digging bodies out of graves in remote communities was a problem, difficult to dig a deep grave with solid granite not far below the surface

      Wiki
      Official records indicate that the last Scottish wolf was killed by Sir Ewen Cameron in 1680 in Killiecrankie (Perthshire),[1][10] but there are reports that wolves survived in Scotland up until the 18th century,[8] and a tale even exists of one being seen as late as 1888.

    • The article starts off by claiming that there is a consensus and then goes into a long whine about how evil it is that everybody doesn’t listen to them when they make unsupported claims of doom.

      Not a lick of science.

    • Griff is on vacation and Henry Pool is his substitute for a while.
      And he´s doing fine, laugh level is in balance. There´s always a dork to replace a dork, because they are the loud majority. Unfortunately.

      • alas not, because I’d probably have to self quarantine on return…!

        But answer me this: if the arctic sea ice is in decline and the polar bear is a species which depends on that sea ice, how likely is it the bears are not affected?

        I remind all that the current arctic sea ice extent and area is at a record low for this date in July.

        It seems unlikely given that the previous record years in recent history are all this century that there isn’t a decline.

        • False assertions, exaggerations, and guesses aren’t science. A rational person assessing all the best available evidence would conclude Polar Bears are just fine. They are opportunistic adaptable sea bears, not one-trick ice bears.

          And what it they weren’t fine? Polar Bears evolved in 25 generations about 130k years ago – they didn’t exist for most of the earth’s history, they are a much younger species than modern man. If their requirements were so unique, they will re-evolve after man goes extinct and the planet heals – all in an evolutionary blink of the eye.

          Your problem is thinking on human life timescales.

          BRITISH HIGH COURT RULING on the content of Gore’s Inconvenient Truth included:

          “The film claims that a study showed that polar bears had drowned due to disappearing arctic ice. It turned out that Mr Gore had misread the study: in fact four polar bears drowned and this was because of a particularly violent storm.”

        • Polar bears do not “depend” on ice to catch seal cubs, they have been observed eating fish, narwhals, walrus, in fact pretty much anything they can get their paws on. Seal cubs are just another item on the menu when they are in season. Incidentally, it’s ursus maritimus. Sea Bear. If they were associated with ice, they would be called ursus glacialis.

          • but surely some of the things they’ve been seen eating lately are due to them not being out on the (having rapidly receded from land) ice? whale carcasses. and I expect those are walrus hauled out on shore, because there aren’t floes over shallow water for them to feed from?

          • Polar bears have always eaten anything that isn’t fast enough to run away from them.
            Nothing different today. Since polar bear populations have been rising dramatically in recent decades, this minor decrease in floating ice doesn’t seem to be bothering them.

        • Consider your own evidence the sea ice has declined and yet the bear numbers are fine. They will have to have some limit placed on them because humans and bears don’t mix. If it isn’t ice then it will be culling. The biggest threat to polar bears will not be lack of sea ice it will be humans wanting there territory and that only has one outcome just look at Africa.

          • LdB,
            I looked at Africa and you are dead right. There are no polar bears or sea bears to be found. Proof positive, lack of sea ice equates to lack of polar bears.
            This science stuff is easier than I imagined it would be. somebody should tell griff 🙂

          • griff finds one paper that seems to believe that there might be a small drop in PB populations. Heck with the dozens of papers and reports that show their numbers growing.

          • “griff July 27, 2020 at 7:38 am”

            I see the word model used 11 times in that report.

          • So you don’t believe the numbers are fine and your linked report has concerns …. the world does not act on concerns or your opinion when the requested action is massive and draconian.

            Even excluding the upfront cost for emission control the yearly cost is trillions of dollars and you think the world is going to act on a concern or what Griff thinks … dream on.

        • 1) Sea ice is cyclical
          2) There is no evidence that Polar Bears depend on sea ice.

          It’s been warming since the bottom of the Little Ice Age some 200 years ago. Why is it surprising that sea ice has declined a bit since then.

          Sea ice over all has been stable since the low in 2012.

          • 2 of the 4 lowest ice years have been after 2012.

            Average age, thickness has also declined.

            It is likely 2020 will end up as at least 2nd lowest, if ice melts at any rate seen in last 10 years.

            The ice has not returned to the point it was in 1979, so we are looking at a much longer than 41 year cycle: isn’t 30 years usually considered to indicate its climate?

          • Differences between 2012 and the years you mention are so far below the measurement error that only someone who is totally anal on the subject would cite them.

          • “griff July 27, 2020 at 7:31 am

            The ice has not returned to the point it was in 1979,…”

            Who says it should in a natural cycle that no-one really any accurate observational data on before 1979?

        • Is anyone out there actually on vacation?

          what’s the view on foreign travel?

          (where’s Monckton with his revealing and commonsense virus articles – bring him back!)

        • Griff: Kindly explain how polar bears survived much hotter eras (Medieval and Roman Warm Periods, Eemian Climate Optimum etc) without going extinct.

        • So, griff, exactly how did the Polar Bears survive the Holocene Climactic Optimum ~9000 years ago when the Arctic was ice-free for several thousand years?

          Gotcha. Adios.

  16. The Spectator is one of the few publishers of proper (not fake) news. It also has many good reporters and gives both sides of the argument. It is undoubtedly the best media outlet for the truth and proper analysis.

  17. To be fair if you involved in research in this area, all this ‘attention’ is no bad thing from a funding prospective .
    And to be double fair , climate ‘doom’ as provided significant funding and ‘headlines ‘ to quite a few areas , some of which were both unknown and uncared for before ‘climate doom’ .
    Not that I would suggest that is a very good reason why people working in these areas have a degree of self-interest in keeping the bandwagon on the track no matter what the science actually ‘tells them’

  18. That’s a fine alliteration you’ve gotten us into, Polar-bear Panic Porn, part of the Plandemic protocol.

  19. I seem to remember reading that polar bear numbers recovered significantly when the Inuit stopped shooting them….

  20. As a point of order, I do think it is inadvisable to insult posters who support the climate change narrative on this site. In the spirit of free inquiry, we should welcome argument, and argue back. Leave the ad hominem insults to the other side.

    Incidentally, I myself am a dork. I am the proud son and grandson of dorks, and dorkish is my mother tongue.

      • I don’t consider it trolling to put an alternative point of view, and, apart from simple issues of goodd manners, snide personal comments have a negative effect on any open-minded individuals who may lurk here looking for information and intelligent debate (of which, of course, there is plenty).

        • RobH: completely agree. Mosh and griff are willing targets and I give them credit for that. While I’m not usually in their camp, I find their challenges enlightening. One thing I really like about WUWT is the comments section, and that I know I can usually learn as much, at least if not more, from the usual cast of characters in the Comments sections than from the posted article! Debate is good.

          Laisser les bons temps rouler!

  21. The great anxiety about the declining Polar Bear numbers reminds me of the other terrible toll industrialisation has had on the world. By a strange coincidence, the decline in the world’s population which in 1950 was 2.5 billion is today down to a mere 7.5 billion. The tripling is similar in scale to the Polar Bears’ situation, going from sub 10,000 to today’s conservative 30,000 plus population.
    It must all be due to global warming, the sheer horror of it all….

  22. Couldn’t you have added at least an excerpt of the article here? This article and the last article were completely bereft of any information relating to the title of the article. Feels a bit like bait and switch.

  23. Well, does anyone remember the old model, those differential equation graphs? It’s primitive, sure, but at least close to observable reality. And actually makes sense. In that some species has a high population spike, it’s going to drop very low once feedback catches up, whether via depletion of food or via things that feed on it thriving and multiplying.
    Seeing how those bears were so numerous they spread all around their “traditional” habitats and many were seen in human settlements which they usually avoid… took them long enough?

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