What do you think about the Interior Department's designation of the polar bear as threatened?

The designation was granted because the species is threatened with extinction because of shrinking sea ice. This makes it the first creature added to the endangered species list primarily because of global warming.

But the department also issued special rules designed to exempt from the law offshore oil and gas drilling in prime polar bear habitat off Alaska’s north coast, and cast doubt on whether far-flung conditions, such as emissions from tailpipes, feedlots and smokestacks around the globe, could be directly linked to the shrinking sea ice.

Conservation groups, however, are gearing up to test that premise in court, citing a Supreme Court ruling last year that defined carbon dioxide as a pollutant.

Your thoughts?
rwcrufle: Not true, at least not the way you put it.

"Polar bears can be found at low densities right up to the North Pole, but their main habitat is the nearshore annual sea ice over the continental shelf, where biological productivity and their main prey are more abundant. The southernmost limit of the bears is in the subarctic waters of James Bay, in Canada, which is at about the same latitude as London, England. For management purposes, polar bears have been divided into 19 different subpopulations based on movement patterns of adult females wearing satellite radio collars."

http://actionbioscience.org/environment/derocher.html

"The world population, estimated at 22,000 bears, is made up of 20 relatively distinct populations varying in size from a few hundred to a few thousand animals."

http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=20553351

So, not so simple, is it?

8 Responses to “What do you think about the Interior Department's designation of the polar bear as threatened?”

  1. J S Says:

    I have to wonder what use the Fish and Wildlife Service serves, since they’re no longer protecting threatened or endangered species. Issuing exemptions for industries before the science is in negates their reason for existence.

    Dissolve the FWS (and the utterly worthless EPA while we’re at it) and use those funds for industry handouts (excuse me, I guess this week they’re referred to as alternative energy subsidies and environmental technology investments) instead of implementing a new global warming tax.

    Heck, the whole Department of Interior is a joke. Shut it all down, and let Bush’s press office speak for itself instead of through them.

  2. stl_luna_7 Says:

    I saw them in Alaska as a kid. THey were big and amazing to look at. I think it is vital to save them and it is good thing that Dept has done. I get very sick of hearing this global warming mantra. Most people don’t get the very complex weather dynamic that affects temperatures and anything else related to weather and forecasting. It’s nuts!

  3. Mathew Says:

    LMAO on this one! Since WHEN do polar bears eat ice. They eat fish and seals! They don’t need ice to live, breed and eat. If that was the case how do they explain polar bears living in the Phoenix zoo. Yeah they prefer the ice but they don’t NEED it. Good Lord this crap is getting crazy.Polar bears are being threatened because humans kill them! They (the bears) have discovered it is easier to feed off our garbage than to hunt for food. Therefore they have come into our cities where they (being aggressive bears) have threatened humans. Which in turn the humans living in Alaska shoot the mean old bears. Where in the h*** did you go to school?

  4. Mark Anthony Says:

    Time will tell if the decision was correct, I have no problem with polar bears being placed on the list as long as reasonable people decided it was the thing to do, and not political expediency.

  5. Bob Says:

    First, it shows the results of scientists looking at all the evidence on whether or not polar bears are in trouble, and deciding that they are. There’s no political advantage to doing this, it will anger at least as many people as it pleases.

    Second, people who think polar bears don’t need ice don’t understand the problem. Polar bears need ice as a base to hunt from. They can’t hunt well on land or in the water.

    So a lack of ice causes polar bears to starve to death. And mothers feed their young for some time. When a mother can’t feed, her cubs die of starvation also.

    This is even uglier than most people know.

  6. rwcrufler Says:

    It is a move to prevent drilling and exploratioin via the use of the endangered species act.
    In the last 40 years the population of polar bears has increased 5 fold.

  7. CAPTAIN BEAR Says:

    This is really sad but I guess that the deniers will say its another hoax. When I worked in Torino, Italy some 15 years ago, there used to be ice on the mountains (Alps) all year round but these few years they are all gone except for a few patches.

  8. Dana1981, Master of Science Says:

    I think the Supreme Court ruling clearly trumps the Interior Dept. special rules regarding CO2 emissions. I also think it’s about damn time that they classified the polar bear as threatened, because it’s abundantly clear that artic sea ice continues to shrink, and that polar bears need it to hunt. Experts studying polar bear populations have been saying as much:

    http://www.globalwarmingisreal.com/blog/2008/03/10/scientist-on-western-hudson-bay-polar-bear-population-i-consider-myself-a-historian/

    And finally, I think the exemption for offshore oil and gas drilling in prime polar bear habitat is totally bogus. They’re threatened yet we get to continue drilling in their prime habitat? Nice priorities.