LETTERS: Writer revisits the continuing polar bear controversy

Facts don’t seem to matter

To the Expositor:

I have recently returned from a bit of time in the sun and notice that more climate hysteria has been featured courtesy of a prominent local Climate Chicken Little. I refer to the February 20 edition. It starts with “the claim that polar bears are not at risk from global warming is inconsistent with what is known.” Really!

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Let’s review “what is known.”

The polar bear population was decimated first by commercial whalers around the turn of the twentieth century and continued until about 1930. Unregulated hunting then took place well into the 1960s. We don’t know with any degree of accuracy how many bears were left at the end of the sixties but probably around 10,000. Clearly the bears were in decline and something needed to be done. In 1973, the Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) helped to organize an international treaty to protect the bears. We all agreed to stop shooting them 

Since that time, numerous population surveys have been carried out. I listed some of the surveys in my last note. The surveys show a slow and steady increase in numbers to about 30,000 today. These surveys are an integral part of the science. PBSG has been involved in a number of them. In addition to the population estimates, most surveys also provide additional information such as the condition of the bears observed, reproduction capabilities and other relevant information. The more recent surveys are most encouraging as they indicate that the bears are in good health and seem to be thriving. The Chukchi Sea survey is a good example of this.

These are the facts regarding the polar bears. The population in increasing. The bears are healthy. Any reasonable person would have to conclude that there is no evidence to support a claim that polar bears are currently in decline.

So why the hysterics? Why would someone looking at the facts conclude something at odds with the evidence?

The simple answer is that facts don’t seem to matter to some people. If the facts don’t fit the climate change narrative, they are ignored.

I again reiterate that the bears have been placed on the Red List because of population projections based on models developed by Steven Amstrup. One of the factors that he included in the models is summer sea ice. Mr. Amstrup assumed that loss of summer sea ice would result in increased bear mortality. Most scientists now conclude that it is spring ice that is critical. During this three to four month period the bears prey on seal pups and consume about 70 percent of their annual uptake. In short, the models that were used to project population trends were wrong. When facts start to indicate that a hypothesis is wrong, good science calls for a review of the original assumptions.

I will endeavour to discuss some of the other issues the February 20 letter touched on in future submissions. With one exception, Greta Thunberg, the child, and others like her. We need to encourage children to enjoy their childhood, take them fishing, take them to Disney, provide them with opportunities to check out the world we live in. Most importantly, teach them how to think critically. 

For the bigger kids, the ones with climate change derangement syndrome, I can only suggest Scotch and/or valium.

Shane Desjardins