No evidence for BBC claim that Churchill is simply getting too warm for polar bears

From Polar Bear Science

Dr. Susan Crockford

Another pronouncement from conservation activists at Polar Bears International taken without a single check of facts makes the BBC look ineffective and gullible.

The photo above of a ‘green dot’ bear was taken 10 November 2022 by a Churchill resident. Bears released from the ‘polar bear jail’ when there is enough sea ice for them to resume hunting are marked with a green dot.

From a BBC article today (18 December 2022), ‘Canada’s polar-bear capital Churchill warms too fast for bears‘:

But as the polar bear becomes an icon of climate change, the bears’ plight in Churchill embodies the inextricable link between preserving the natural world and fighting global warming. The polar-bear capital of the world is simply getting too warm for polar bears. …

“Looking over the last couple of decades, it forms later and later and it breaks up earlier and earlier in spring,” Dr Flavio Lehner, of conservation charity PBI, says.

“So this season in between – where the bears are on land and can’t take advantage of those hunting opportunities – that’s is getting longer and longer, with warming.”

The simple fact is that sea ice in Western Hudson Bay, where Churchill is located, has not been declining more and more with rising CO2 emissions, according to data published by polar bear specialists (e.g. Castro de la Guardia et al. 2017).

Since 2015, there has been only one ‘late’ freeze-up year (2016)–but five very early ones–and at most one relatively early breakup year (with some bears ashore in June). This year (2022) freeze-up was about as early as it was in the 1980s, as was the case in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, as the chart below indicates (dark blue is more ice than usual compared to 1991-2020). Breakup happened in July in 2022, so also not early.

In other words, there has been no escalation of poor Churchill-area sea ice conditions in recent years as stated by the BBC.

The BBC and others only get away with such blatantly false statements because polar bear specialists simply do not update their published data on Western Hudson Bay sea ice or condition of bears. Data for ice is now 7 years out of date and information on the condition of the bears is decades out of date.

Moreover, the models predicting the demise of polar bears by 2100 are implausible prophesies based on discredited RCP8.5 scenarios that assume an unrealistic 500% increase in coal and a 60C rise in global temperature (Hausfather and Peters 2020) and out-of-date information on WH bears (Molnar et al. 2010, 2020).

This bit of PR possing as science comes as PBI’s ‘chief scientist’ announces his retirement from the organization. His comments are telling about why he quit the US Geological Survey in 2010 to join PBI:

I originally planned to stay with PBI for about five years—thinking that, by then, societies would have moved toward more sustainable CO2 emissions pathways and the future for polar bears would be more secure. I had many reasons to be optimistic, but boy was I wrong. I didn’t fully appreciate the power of the denial movement. I also didn’t imagine that our policy leaders, many of whom are smart people, would choose to literally ruin the world in exchange for the further enrichment of a very few. So, the initial five years stretched into more than a decade—and we still have far to go.

The announcment states that Amstrup “plans to step up to an emeritus position while passing the baton to two hand-picked successors, Dr. John Whiteman and Dr. Flavio Lehner.” Hand-picked, by Amstrup, means more of the same from PBI.

It’s no wonder the BBC promotion piece for PBI includes so many statements from Lehner, who is not a polar bear biologist but an activist climate scientist. Like the BBC, I expect Lehner also believes everything that Amstrup says without checking for himself.


Castro de la Guardia, L., Myers, P.G., Derocher, A.E., Lunn, N.J., Terwisscha van Scheltinga, A.D. 2017. Sea ice cycle in western Hudson Bay, Canada, from a polar bear perspective. Marine Ecology Progress Series 564: 225–233.

Hausfather, Z. and Peters, G.P. 2020. Emissions – the ‘business as usual’ story is misleading [“Stop using the worst-case scenario for climate warming as the most likely outcome — more-realistic baselines make for better policy”]. Nature 577: 618-620

Molnár, P.K., Bitz, C.M., Holland, M.M., Kay, J.E., Penk, S.R. and Amstrup, S.C. 2020. Fasting season length sets temporal limits for global polar bear persistence. Nature Climate Change.

Molnar, P.K., Derocher, A.E., Theimann, G., and Lewis, M.A. 2010. Predicting survival, reproduction and abundance of polar bears under climate change. Biological Conservation 143:1612-1622.

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December 19, 2022 10:18 am

Some polar bears can move south…and mate with grizzlies….lose that white coat and blend in…..problem solved……blend in is important….don’t want to stand out.

Last edited 1 month ago by antigtiff
Matt Kiro
Reply to  antigtiff
December 19, 2022 10:42 am

With all the polar weather moving south into the US, I’m expecting the bears to moving next to the Great Lakes soon. Is there a good population of seals there?

Reply to  Matt Kiro
December 19, 2022 6:27 pm

And yet you waste time here.

Reply to  Matt Kiro
December 20, 2022 1:41 am

Spam alert. Moderators, please delete and block.

Reply to  Matt Kiro
December 20, 2022 8:02 am

We could substitute some progressives or Liberal elites. There are an excess of them in that region of Canada. Perhaps New York could contribute?

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  antigtiff
December 19, 2022 11:47 am

then when when the ice at the pole returns, they’ll head back and those with white fir will breed the most. Problem solved.

December 19, 2022 10:19 am

Susan might be interested to learn something about the heir presumptive to Attenborough…

“Revealed: BBC arranged place on Strictly Come Dancing for Hamza Yassin to make him a household name ahead of him becoming the next David Attenborough

The Daily Mail can reveal executives at the Beeb arranged this after learning how popular he was with children on his CBeebies rambling show, Let’s Go For A Walk.

And now he’s lined up for BBC1s flagship ‘Countryfile’ programme…

“Strictly’s finalists Hamza Yassin and Helen Skelton ‘are set to co-present Countryfile after impressing BBC bosses’ on dance show”

Trebles all round

Reply to  strativarius
December 20, 2022 1:42 am

Good to know someone with a traditional rural English name like Hamza Yassin is presenting “Countryfile”.

Roger Collier
Reply to  strativarius
December 20, 2022 3:31 am

At least Attenborough knew something about his subject while making fake documentaries.

Peta of Newark
December 19, 2022 10:33 am

Are polar bears really international

Strictly I suppose they are but I sense over-inflated Self Importance in the name of that organisation
iow: They make stuff up, they lie.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 19, 2022 12:01 pm

About as international as penguins.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
December 20, 2022 6:41 am

Since they live in 5 countries they are International.

But I clicked on the link to the “organisation”. They seem to have lots of folk working for them, all clothed in cold weather suits, so I guess they have lots of money, although they seem to concentrate on Churchill a bit too much.
But most of their waffle is clotted tosh and curdled balderdash.

Reply to  Oldseadog
December 20, 2022 8:09 am

“their waffle is clotted tosh and curdled balderdash”
Love your syntax.Can I use it in Canada? It seems to describe liberal propaganda perfectly.

Reply to  rckkrgrd
December 20, 2022 9:22 am

Go ahead. My old English teacher would be delighted.

Pat from Kerbob
December 19, 2022 10:35 am

If not for lies they would have nothing to say

December 19, 2022 10:48 am

I wish “climate science” was a real science where people are prosecuted and jailed for blatant data manipulation and misrepresentation.

Elliot W
December 19, 2022 10:54 am

The models say ice should be gone AND that polar bears should be in decline. And UK children don’t know what snow is anymore. And that sea levels are rising at an unprecedented rate. Etc, etc. None of it true in real life.
But think about the timing of this article by the BBC; it is gaslighting a chilled populace (worried about high energy costs, high heating bills, possible electrical blackouts later this season, and travelling on snowy roads!) that the planet is actually roasting to death and that the sacrifice of “useless “ old people to die a cold death is warranted if it saves polar bears. British taxes pay for this evil.

December 19, 2022 11:04 am

makes the BBC look ineffective and gullible

The BBC is neither ineffective nor gullible – they know exactly what they are doing

Bob Hunter
December 19, 2022 11:14 am

Agree with everything in the article except the first sentence. The BBC does not “look ineffective & gullible” because the vast majority of the public get their info from the liberal MSM who also do not check the data.

December 19, 2022 11:29 am

We don’t need to check, we don’t need no stinkin’ data because everyone knows the world is warming therefore there is less ice around Churchill.

Reply to  Moriarty
December 20, 2022 8:11 am

Hey, I am sure we can find some data to match the narrative. The boys just need to dig a little harder.

Coeur de Lion
December 19, 2022 12:33 pm

You see, it’s like Climategate and the Hockey Stick and Cook’s 97%. and polar bear numbets – the Beeb went out on a limb and were made to look silly so for ever after they try and try to whitewash their error. One can understand that

December 19, 2022 12:39 pm

The BBC stopped dealing in unbiased, scientific evidence based, factual journalism several years ago when they signed up to spread the ideological climate alarmist narrative

They are an embarrassing sham that needs defunding

December 19, 2022 12:51 pm

This was another nudge. The ‘news’ was followed by another new episode of the Pullman dark materials armoured talking bear saga so we, and especially youngsters, could all despair about them boiling due to the wicked frackers.

December 19, 2022 1:02 pm

There is a recording weather station at Arviat, 250 km north of Churchill. It show the following runaway thermageddon, not.
Go to weather “”, pick an applicable weather station, or look at many. Then add to the URL “/metrics/temperature.html” to see the last 20 or so years. You can decide if it shows catastrophic warming or not.

Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 20, 2022 8:14 am

Nice graphics, but it states what is obvious to anyone willing to look away from their TV screens.

Rod Evans
December 19, 2022 1:42 pm

It’s the BBC it is just another false tumbling walrus story. They are famous for it.

Pat from Kerbob
December 19, 2022 4:49 pm

Clearly the bears are struggling, there are so many of them.

That’s what I learned in sciency school, more and fatter bears means they are in trouble.

Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 20, 2022 8:18 am

There are so many they are starting to crowd each other of the Northern edge of the world. Meteors or falling stars, just more shining white polar bears hurtling off into the abyss.

Roger Collier
December 20, 2022 3:29 am

How will those poor bears hunt with one paw hiding their black nose and another covering the green spot?

Reply to  Roger Collier
December 20, 2022 8:19 am

They leave a few yellow and brown spots around as a distraction.

December 20, 2022 7:59 am

I would like to invite BBC staff, and any climate advocates they would like to accompany them, to tour Canada’s north before Christmas. Perhaps they could wear seal suits and wander the ice floes.
This morning was -35 degrees C or -31 F outside my window and that is only a couple of hundred miles north of the northern Montana, U.S. border.
Thankfully no wind to make it more miserable, but wind turbines are rather ineffective at the moment.
I wonder if any have noticed the degree or so of warming we have seen in the last century and a half. I would welcome a little more.

Andy Pattullo
December 20, 2022 3:36 pm

Dr. Crockford versus the BBC is like a debate between a learned scholar and a scrap of moldy bread. Of course the bread would never agree to debate.

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