Constant dire predictions have been an attempt to counter effective criticism of polar bears as AGW icon, says outgoing PBSG chair

From Polar Bear Science

By Susan Crockford

In an unexpected statement, Dag Vongraven (the out-going Chairman of the Polar Bear Specialist Group) suggests that much of the incessant dire warnings of doom about the future of polar bears from PBSG members has been a counter-measure to offset the effective efforts by myself and others to expose the flawed rhetoric this group promotes.

You may remember Vongraven, who in 2014 famously sent me an email alerting me to a PBSG statement that later came back to bite them (in part because it was included in a CBC documentary called The Politics of Polar Bears later that year, see below):

It is important to realize that this range [i.e. their polar bear population estimate] never has been an estimate of total abundance in a scientific sense, but simply a qualified guess given to satisfy public demand.

Will this be another? You be the judge.

In an interview available only in Norwegian on the website for the Norwegian Polar Institute, Dag Vongraven expressed his opinion that “climate change will ultimately lead to the extinction of the polar bear population in Svalbard and major parts of the Russian Arctic“. This dire prediction was reported in English by the Barents Observer (2 July 2021).

However, it turns out Vongraven had more to say which the reporter for the Observer left out but which the folks who write IcePeople (2 July 2021) thought was worth a mention. They wrote:

Vongraven, incidentally, acknowledges in this week’s report [sic, they mean the NPI interview] the increasing visibility of climate change deniers in recent years – and declares that’s partially why there’s an increasing number of dire reports being released.

“Before the (specialist group) meeting in Tromsø in 2009, a physical meeting in the specialist group for polar bears and a report every four years was enough, but after 2009 this has been insufficient because there has been a constant demand for information about the polar bear’s status and future prospects,” he said. “But the increase is also due to the fact that climate deniers and this type of force have become much more active, and polar bears as a symbol of climate change have been reduced as ‘climate hysteria.’”

By the way, the IcePeople piece also provided a link to my July 1 blog post (“Barents Sea polar bears thriving despite huge summer ice loss spring research results are in”), in which I reported the results of spring 2021 research on polar bears in Svalbard posted for all to see on the NPI website by NPI polar bear biologists. Apparently, to some people, posting data such as this is evidence of “denier activity”.

The failure of Svalbard area polar bears to show evidence of harm to their health or population size from the huge decline in summer sea ice seen in the Barents Sea is a problem because it is such a stark contrast to the continued claim that polar bears in Southern and Western Hudson Bay have already registered significant declines in body condition and cub survival in response to only a fraction of the ice loss experienced by Svalbard bears. As I pointed out last year and in The Polar Bear Catastrophe That Never Happened, this contradiction is one of the real conundrums that plague the PBSG.

Meanwhile, the PBSG website is unavailable because the NPI has stopped hosting (as it has done since 2001) and the PBSG must ‘transition’ to a new platform. In the announcement I saw 28 May 2021, there was no hint of how long this might take. Therefore, this website link produces only a snapshot of the PBSG homepage and an obituary for Markus Dyck: the rest of it, with all the content from years ago, is effectively gone. Good thing I’ve downloaded virtually all of their content to my own archive over the years.

Therefore, without the NPI interview as reported by the Barents Observer, we would never know that Vongraven was stepping down as PBSG chairman to be replaced by Nick Lunn (Canada) and Kristin Laidre (USA/Greenland) as co-chairs, which as far as I know has never been done before (having two chairmen). It’s certainly high time for this group to have a female chair (which they have certainly never had before) but it looks to me like this bunch of macho-men don’t expect a woman to do the job competently all by herself. Perhaps I’m wrong: maybe she is so busy she declined the post unless she had help. However, I find it odd that none of the previous male chairs have ever needed to share the chairman load.

Lastly, as an added bonus to Vongraven admitting that my colleagues and I have been doing a good job in exposing the unsubstantiated hysteria around polar bear predictions of doom, the IcePeople article link to the NPI interview inadvertently led me to their ‘publications’ page (which I had not seen before). There you will find links to papers by NPI researchers and critically, pdf copies for download of many papers that are not otherwise available except by journal subscriptions. A gold mine. Thanks, guys!

Below: The CBC’s ‘The Politics of Polar Bears’ (from 2014), short version (the full length version has disappeared):

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Dave Fair
July 3, 2021 6:46 pm

Dr. Crockford, after reading this and viewing the shortened CBC video, I can see why you have received grief over time from the likes of Vongraven and, especially, Durocher. Durocher comes off as a real weasel, and I’ve had vast experience with similar weasels. He is a poor liar and his evasions come with obvious tells, especially his eyes. The presentations by other interviewees are damning to the supposed experts.

Ed Hanley
July 3, 2021 7:02 pm

Q: “Would you say it’s fair to say there is still somewhat of a debate as to just how healthy polar bear populations are?”

Durocher: “No. Scientifically, No. There’s no debate.”

There is still “somewhat of a debate” about every other avenue of inquiry in science. Durocher has discovered an outlier, where a field of inquiry with scant data has somehow come to an incontrovertible conclusion. We don’t have all the data, but there is no debate. Now there’s a “scientist” I can put my faith in.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Ed Hanley
July 5, 2021 3:42 pm

Before and for a while after the start of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Church felt the same way about debate. They put the Spanish Inquisition in charge.

Gary Pearse
July 3, 2021 8:06 pm

An admission by the head of the Polar Bear Stdy Grp that they hyped the dire predictions about the health and numbers of bears ….. because of effective criticism by growing numbers(!) of sceptics. Susan making you a plural foe must be an honor of some kind. You are the only critic knowledgeable about polar bears that I know of that has tried to keep these people honest

Also the Group joined forces with Michael Mann no less to have you removed from your University of Victoria adjunct professorship. U Vic now owns these phony cooked up dire predictions about polar bears instead of enhancing their prestige by still having the real polar bear expert on their staff.

Maybe a story in the Victoria paper about Vongraven’s horribly unscientific
remarks and his legacy of scientific malpractice all in nicely-bound annual reports on PBSG library shelves (what are the new heads going to do with this doggerel) would make nice reading.

Susan you are an exceptional person, courageous and honorable in times when this seems out of fashion.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 3, 2021 9:37 pm

Thanks Gary, I appreciate your support. And that of Dave and Ed (above) and al the rest of you who have had my back in recent years.

And thank to Charles for posting this so quickly – it was something people really needed to see.

Reply to  Susan Crockford
July 3, 2021 10:12 pm

Susan, we appreciate your hard work & tenacity in fighting for the truth, keep going, we need more people like you & Peter Ridd etc to maintain honesty in science.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  saveenergy
July 4, 2021 5:18 am

“Susan, we appreciate your hard work & tenacity in fighting for the truth”

Yes, we do. Even more so because of all the flak she gets from the alarmists.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gary Pearse
July 4, 2021 5:14 am

“U Vic now owns these phony cooked up dire predictions about polar bears instead of enhancing their prestige by still having the real polar bear expert on their staff.”

They outsmarted themselves, didn’t they. Climate change religion makes some people do crazy things.

Al Miller
July 3, 2021 8:14 pm

Shame on UVIC and the many other “higher learning” institutions now telling the students WHAT to think, not how to think. Shame! (UVIC fired Dr. Crockford for thought crimes recently for those who don’t know.

Reply to  Al Miller
July 3, 2021 11:26 pm

I think Dr. Andrew Weaver had a lot to do with the firing of Dr. Crockford, at least that is what I have heard from some high profile BC Greens who have sort of bragged about it. Weaver recently led the Green Party before retiring for health reasons. And the fact that he couldn’t get along with the Green Party rank and file either…or the NDP. Probably never be able to prove it. What a shame that some of these characters like Mann and Weaver do character assassination instead of real science.

Zig Zag Wanderer
July 3, 2021 8:14 pm

So, there is more truth being written, in order to combat the increasing number of lies that you persist in telling, therefore you need to increase the amount and severity of the lies?


July 3, 2021 8:14 pm

Climate change is the new religion and adherents must repeat the dogma no matter how absurd. Deniers of this religion are persecuted and banished as heretics.

July 3, 2021 8:23 pm

The Arctic is the Holy Land of CliManntics everywhere….it must be kept cold and pristine….it is where the Force dwells….the Evil Fossil Fuel consumers will not be allowed to desecrate or melt one ounce of the ice…the Great White Bears guard the ice with their lives….block CO2 wherever you encounter it…may the Force be with you.

Reply to  Anti_griff
July 3, 2021 9:57 pm

“may the Force Farce be with you.

there, fixed it for you !

BTW; Anti-griff, your comments are an effective Ani-dope to stupidity.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Anti_griff
July 5, 2021 3:49 pm

I keep wondering, especially when I hear about the latest idea to absorb and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, Just how cold do they think it should be, And what makes them think they can dial it in and create just that, when after 50 years of study they can’t tell us what the climate sensitivity is within 100% variance. Such a magical confluence of ignorance, arrogance and dreamland wishful thinking I staggers the imagination.

July 3, 2021 9:45 pm

Memo – To all Polar Bears – layoffs

Polar bears are letting the team down. You have unilaterally decided to not reduce your numbers or relative health and in doing so have threatened careers and income of those who are sworn to protect you.

You need to be told that enough is enough. If you don’t start to be team players all those ATMs in the arctic at which you are able to withdraw all that money sent by people trying to “save” you, will be turned off. You will have no further access to that cash.

We’re looking for a 30% reduction in numbers so that our year end figures look better. We’d like that to be voluntary but however it is acheived it must take place now.

HR Department

john harmsworth
Reply to  Tedz
July 5, 2021 3:50 pm

That’s great! Can I get a polar bear hide for a conservationist friend of mine?

Pat from kerbob
July 3, 2021 10:15 pm

I the fullness of time all the climate scientologists will get theirs

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
July 4, 2021 5:29 am

I think so.

July 3, 2021 11:29 pm

So there isn’t a problem with the prediction it is the bears fault as they just refuse to die. Did Dag Vongraven hire Nick Stokes to write his explanation?

Real World to Dag Vongraven there is a high probability you prediction is crap.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  LdB
July 5, 2021 8:46 am

I wondered if in the extreme the climate worriers might put cyanide in their anesthetizing darts to make the projections fit. Afterall, green arsonists set ‘wild’ fires to try to adjust the under performing fire stats to increasing Ts/CO2, temperature boffins adjust Ts to fit CO2 rise to the control knob formula, add on glacial rebound to ‘correct’ a flattening of SLR a decade ago, Karlize the Dreaded Pause in T-rise that had worriers in a panic and caused the Climate Blues that terminated careers…

The next obvious panic is the present 6yrs of cooling (and counting). Will they adjust back the T additions made starting in 2000 and adjust upward the present temperatures gradually to neutralize the T drop and limit the extension of the new ‘Pause’? Signs of this usually take the form of late reporting on recent months in the various T- sets. Stay tuned.

July 3, 2021 11:49 pm

What a tragedy that so much effort has been put into one single giant misconception, that CO2 is the root cause for being the control knob on the climate. The Polar bears are doing just fine, pretty much everywhere in the Arctic. There is absolutely no doubt their numbers are increasing since the lows of the last mid century, and that was due to over hunting.

But to think all this wasted effort on Net Zero ‘carbon’, when there is so many other problems to solve in the world. Now the climate stasi’s are blaming the ‘heat dome’ in western NA on climate change and all they can say is we have to reduce emissions to change the weather. It would make more sense to adapt to any issues as best we can, as there always has been anomalous weather events forever, and there always will be no matter what the CO2 level is. And natural variability climate change is main elephant in the room and the only normal that has ever existed so I am not sure if they really believe any of this themselves. Well, it sounds like the Polar Bear Specialist Group doesn’t believe their own hype either.

Richard Page
Reply to  Earthling2
July 4, 2021 5:07 am

The PBSG absolutely can’t afford to believe anything else and to push their hype at every opportunity. Their incomes are 100% reliant on keeping polar bears endangered – no endangered status, no job no money no prestige and going back to the real world to make a living with a niche qualification. They’re terrified of their gravy train running out of steam.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Earthling2
July 4, 2021 5:33 am

“But to think all this wasted effort on Net Zero ‘carbon’, when there is so many other problems to solve in the world.”

That’s the real tragedy. That, and the destruction of the economies of the Western Democracies, and the subsequent loss of personal freedoms.

Coeur de Lion
July 4, 2021 12:38 am

I’ve noticed a lack of polar bear suits in demonstrations recently . I’m keen to buy one cheap- any offers?

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Coeur de Lion
July 4, 2021 2:19 am

Check eBay. That seems to be where most stuff like that ends up. Good luck in your quest!

Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 4, 2021 3:36 am

Beware of the cheap versions – they’re made with that evil plastic. You want the real fur…don’t you?

Mumbles McGuirck
Reply to  Disputin
July 4, 2021 5:22 am

“The polar bear sleeps in his little bear skin.
He sleeps very well, I am told.
Last night I slept in my little bare skin
And I caught a helluva cold.”

BTW in German Vongraven translates to “of the grave”.
“O grave, where is thy victory?”

Alan the Brit
July 4, 2021 12:45 am

Is it me, or is there some kind of sea-change (forgive the pun), or perhaps it is just arse-covering practices? Someone better tell those Polar bears & their Penguin cousins in that other over-heating island down south, their homes are doing just fine!!!

July 4, 2021 1:00 am

And yet this is a species that depends on the ice and the ice continues its decline.

constant cherry picked articles here ‘proving’ the bears are OK are dishonest and political reporting.

Ed Zuiderwijk
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 1:23 am

That is called ‘projection’.

Chris Wright
Reply to  Ed Zuiderwijk
July 4, 2021 3:42 am

Whether it’s “projection” or not, griff is talking complete nonsense as usual.

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 3:39 am

“this is a species that depends on the ice and the ice continues its decline.”

So how did they manage during the last five or so interglacials?

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 4:12 am

How did the polar bears survive the Eemian which was 3-4 degrees C warmer than now, for thousands of years?

Or all the previous interglacials that were also warmer?

The Holocene is an abnormally cold interglacial, possibly because it got off to a bad start with the YD. (The Younger Dryas.)

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 4:49 am

“And yet this is a species that depends on the ice”

Wrong… as always.

The Polar bear relies on partial sea ice.

It hunts on the ice edge.

If there is too uch sea ice, like in the late 1970s, polar bears have to travel a lot further to hunt.

also, too much sea ice restricts their food source.

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 4:50 am

You really are totally clueless about polar bears, aren’t you griff.

Even more ignorant than you are about climate and weather.

Richard Page
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 5:15 am

Griff – you see how your delusions and disconnect with reality is affecting you again? You seriously need help mate. The articles here are examples of factual reporting – it’s perfectly obvious that the polar bears are doing great and have been a huge, marvellous conservation success story. No political bias, no dishonest reporting on THIS side of the argument, it really isn’t needed or wanted. Time to wake up and see reality as it really is, not that depressive fantasy world you live in.

Reply to  Richard Page
July 4, 2021 11:58 am

Someone once wrote something like

  • It is hard to make a man understand something if his job, and his pension, depends on him not understanding it.

You and I know that that seems very appropriate for the delightful – if boring – griff.


Mickey Reno
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 6:06 am

Griff, the bears don’t depend on the ice. They don’t eat ice. They eat seals. They depend on seals. SEALS depend on the ice, to give them room to spread out and hide from bears when they’re giving birth (or is that becoming birthing persons, in today’s lefty parlance?). IF the ice disappears, the advantage will totally go to the bears. These stupid rummies on the PBSG don’t even have the correct sign of the trend they claim is a problem. which is totally man-made and a result of brainwashed CAGW believers pretending to be scientists, falsely tying a biological cycle to silly projections and model runs of CAGW climate models (known as CMIP6, in today’s modern parlance). Griff, where and when and if the ice goes away, the seals will suffer and the bears will thrive.

John K. Sutherland.
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 6:52 am

Polar bears need SEALS, not ice. No ice, and the seals give birth on a narrow and restricted coast line. Easy pickings, by comparison.

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 7:02 am

Ursus Maritimus, also known as polar bear, depends on water, so his scientific name. 😀
Polar bear are able to swim, but not to skate 😀

Right-Handed Shark
Reply to  Krishna Gans
July 4, 2021 10:05 am

Precisely. Ursus Maritimus, NOT Ursus Glacialis.

Rich Davis
Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 7:12 am

You seem to have missed BobM’s question.

Would you prefer living in 1700 to 1775 when CO2 was so benign, or this terrible time of “dangerous” CO2, 1950-2025?

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 7:33 am

The Polar Bear population hasn’t showed any decline after 14 years of low summer ice cover, it is your irrational effort to ignore the reality that the population numbers have continued to increase.

You are the one being dishonest for repeatedly ignoring the official numbers and that Seals normally leave the region by July anyway, while there are still significant ice near the coast..

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 8:40 am

OH! Griff just claimed he knows more about Polar Bears and their environment than a person that started studying them as a professional career before :Climate Change or Global Warming was even a thing. What an idiot!

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 10:50 am

just ignore these meanies. go find a big fluffy polar bear and give him some big hugs.

Reply to  griff
July 4, 2021 2:57 pm

Bears are dishonest by refusing to reduce their numbers.

Reply to  griff
July 6, 2021 8:15 pm

And yet this is a species that depends on the ice”

According to giffiepoo, polar bears went extinct during the many thousands of Holocene Optimum years.

Another giffie figment of very limited imagination.

July 4, 2021 1:49 am

Susan, thank you for all of your hard work in exposing the failings of the alarmists in your field of study.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed your novel “Eaten”…so much so that I’m happy to promote it for you with a link below, so that others will read it.
Eaten: A novel: Crockford, Susan J: 9781519302557: Books


Chris Wright
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
July 4, 2021 3:57 am

I would second that.

Sometimes it feels as if science, and the world as a whole, is slowly falling into a new Dark Age. But there are still beacons of truth and integrity that illuminate the darkness. Susan, and others such as Peter Ridd, are clearly in this category. That’s why they are endlessly attacked by the Michael Manns of this world. I thank them all.
I’m confident that the truth will finally win, as it always has in the past. But it will take time. Sadly, as I’m knocking on in years I probably won’t live to see it.

On a far brighter note, when thinking about polar bears I often recall this joke:
If you and your friend are being chased by an angry polar bear, you don’t need to outrun the bear. You just need to outrun your friend.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
July 4, 2021 2:27 am

That the polly bears continue to thrive is evidenced by what Arctic researchers call them, Land Sharks! So one must conclude that Durocher and his colleagues spend little to no time with boots on the ground in polar bear habitat. It would be very satisfying if he were to actually go out in the field and be eaten by one of these “rare and highly endangered” creatures…. If he spends all his time in the safety of his office, no wonder he doesn’t think there are many bears around.

July 4, 2021 9:42 am

What is interesting here is that he came clean regards the numbers being all fake, only as he was replaced.

What is also VERY interesting is the fact that he faked the numbers as a result of his own- and presumably other (alarmist) “public demand”.


Gary Pearse
July 4, 2021 11:23 am

I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that the polar bear group was not engaged in science at all, but rather was inventing dire reports on failing health and dwindling numbers of polar bears to counter effective criticism of exactly what wrongful things they were doing! What an admission! How can the members of this shameful group who are not retiring continue to work there?

All these climate alarm niches need counter groups fully funded (crowd funded?). In this case, Biologists
who go out and count the bears, survey their health, number of cubs, diet… and issue detailed reports and videos.

Anthony Watts set a precedent: that shook up NOAA’s ailing temperature network and NIPCC was created to counter “Constant dire predictions” of IPCC and consensus science. Coral Biologists… oceanographers… statisticians …etc

Also, funded scientists to undertake replication of studies concluding dire futures.

July 4, 2021 1:36 pm

So 2014 was the last time Novaya Pravda CBC tried to a balanced report on anything. Seems about the correct time frame.

July 6, 2021 7:37 pm

Vongraven, incidentally, acknowledges in this week’s report [sic, they mean the NPI interview] the increasing visibility of climate change deniers in recent years – and declares that’s partially why there’s an increasing number of dire reports being released.”

Which goes a long way to showing PBSG members do not use grant money for conducting serious research.

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