The rebounding of polar bear populations over the past several decades has been a huge success story. Far from being endangered, vulnerable, or threatened, polar bears are thriving; their populations have exploded in virtually all of their habitats of the circumpolar nations. That’s good news for the polar bears, but bad news for the Polar Bear Specialist Group, the highly politicized organization of wildlife “scientists” that receives massive funding and favorable media coverage for regularly claiming that hoary arctic predators are perilously close to extinction due to human-caused global warming.
The Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) is, perhaps, the best-known task force of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one of the Big Green global enviro-activist organizations that lobby relentlessly for ever more government controls over all human activity, always with the supposed objective of protecting nature.
“The PBSG is the authoritative source for information on the world’s polar bears,” declares the PBSG/IUCN/Species Survival Commission website, “and one of IUCN/SSC’s more than 100 specialist groups that work to produce and to compile scientific knowledge about the world’s species and give independent scientific advice to decision-makers and management authorities.”
Is the PBSG the “authoritative source” on polar bears, as the IUCN claims? Top polar bear experts challenge that assertion. Dr. Susan J. Crockford, adjunct professor at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, who runs the very informative polarbearscience.com website, says the discredited PBSG should have been disbanded long ago, in a January 1 posting entitled, “IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group out-lived its usefulness 20 years ago.”
“The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) should have been disbanded in 1996, the year polar bears were down-graded from a status of ‘vulnerable to extinction’ to ‘lower risk — conservation dependent’ (now called ‘least concern’) on the IUCN Red List,” Professor Crockford writes. “Polar bears had recovered from previous decades of wanton over-hunting — by all measures used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, they were a conservation success story.”
“Why,” asks Dr. Crockford, “did the IUCN and Arctic governments not break up the PBSG back in 1996? Leaving the group intact once polar bears were down-graded to ‘least concern’ simply made its members desperate to justify their existence. That’s precisely what we’ve seen over the last 20 years — PBSG members working tirelessly to ensure the organization didn’t go extinct.”
Since the available hard data showed that polar bear populations have been soaring, not dropping, and since the hard data also show there has been no measurable global warming for at least 18 years, the PBSG had to come up with a scenario that would contradict this rosy trend. The plan they came up with was to announce that (computer model-generated) predictions of sea ice decline due to (computer model-generated) predictions of human-caused global warming are so catastrophic that polar bears should be returned to their previous “vulnerable” classification, despite the fact that by all other criteria they are flourishing.
“Since 2006, PBSG biologists have been very busy,” notes Dr. Crockford. “They worked hard, assisted by the activist conservation organization, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to convince the USA to follow the lead of the IUCN.”
As we reported this past August, noting Dr. Crockford’s research, the polar bear/endangered species card is certain to be a major play in the upcoming push for a new global treaty at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this year. (See: "Desperate Dash of Global Warming.")
“Given this situation, 2015 is likely to be worse than ever for polar bear spin,” says Crockford. "PBSG-member biologists and their colleagues will continue their frantic bids to stay relevant. Just keep reminding yourself that all the hype has very little to do with the conservation status of polar bears and virtually everything to do with the survival of the IUCN PBSG as an organization and the economic future of polar bear biologists and their ever-growing crop of students.”
Dr. Crockford’s website is a treasure trove of research on all things concerning polar bears, as well as a potent antidote to the non-stop global-warming propaganda dispensed by government agencies, NGOs, the UN, and media outlets fraudulently using polar bears, seals, whales, and other iconic arctic critters to sell the climate apocalypse hoax. (See, for instance, here, here, and here.)
In a belated Christmas present, Crockford provided this December 26 posting that further deflates the already collapsing narrative about the non-existent “crisis” of declining arctic sea ice: "Polar bear habitat — more Arctic sea ice in Canada this week than in early 1970s."
The article opens with this cheery news: "This week, Arctic sea ice in Canada, where 2/3 of the world’s polar bears live, had more sea ice than was present in the early 1970s. Globally, the ice is spitting-distance close to the 1981-2010 average calculated by the NSIDC for this date — which means lots of winter/spring hunting habitat for polar bears."
Again, good news for the bears, bad news for the alarmists who exploit the bears.
Yet another environmental expert who is exposing the global-warming hoax, including the polar bear extinction deception, is Jim Steele, director emeritus of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus at San Francisco State University. In a posting on his website entitled, “How ‘Science’ Counts Bears or Why it Takes a Village,” Steele explains why the polar bear counts of Canada’s native Inuits are more accurate and scientific than the politicized computer modeling of the IUCN’s Polar Bear Specialist Group. Steele writes:
The Inuit claim “it is the time of the most polar bears.” By synthesizing their community’s observations they have demonstrated a greater accuracy counting Bowhead whales and polar bears than the models of credentialed scientists. To estimate correctly, it takes a village. In contrast the “mark and recapture” study, which claimed the polar bears along South Beaufort Sea were victims of catastrophic global warming and threatened with extinction, relied on the subjective decisions of a handful of modelers.
In another posting, “Are Polar Bear Researchers Blinded by Belief, or Acting Dishonestly?” Steele methodically dismantles the deceptive study by Bromaghin, Stirling, Derocher, Regehr, and Amstrup (all big guns in the climate wars) released with great media fanfare this past November.
Of course, polar bears are not the only “endangered” creatures that are being exploited by the IUCN, the World Wildlife Fund, and other their fellow purveyors of climate doom. As we reported in 2012 during the UN’s Rio+20 Earth Summit, the IUCN released a massive report fraudulently claiming to show that our planet is on the verge of experiencing massive species extinction, due to human use of hydrocarbon fuels. Happily, the climate alarmists are spectacularly wrong; unfortunately, their cataclysmic predictions — no matter how frequently discredited — are treated as gospel and repeated endlessly by the usual crisis choir in government, academia, and the media. As their “science” continues to be exposed and discredited by genuine scientists and astute researchers, we can expect their noisy chorus to get even noisier, in a desperate attempt to push through a new UN climate regime in Paris — before taxpayers completely pull the plug on their global-warming gravy train.