08 September, 2007

The Expanding, Vanishing Polar Bear Population

Question: How do you know the New York Times is misleading you? Answer: Their printing presses are running.

Two-thirds of the world’s polar bears will disappear by 2050, even under moderate projections for shrinking summer sea ice caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, government scientists reported on Friday. The finding is part of a yearlong review of the effects of climate and ice changes on polar bears to help determine whether they should be protected under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists estimate the current polar bear population at 22,000. [emphasis added]
What they leave out is the fact that there were 5,000 polar bears in 1950 and 10,000 in 1970. Now there are between 20,000 and 25,000. The polar bear population is doubling every few decades. The case for anthropogenic (man-made) global warming based on carbon dioxide emissions depends absolutely on a case being made for most warming having happened since the end of World War II. It hasn't. Not that the NYT would have bothered to tell you.

The tip-offs in the first part of the piece are these:

The first sentence uses the word 'will' instead of 'might', implying a level of certainty that's laughable on its face. (Think about it for a moment: "It will rain next Friday." "The economy will grow by 3.2% through 2012." "IBM stock will more than double by 2017.") This is a 45-year forecast of an immensely complex, interdependent phenomenon. And then there's the study's political goal: protection under the ESA. Not exactly an agenda-free scientific exploration.