Polar bears populations growing - an inconvenient truth

I felt sorry for the author of “Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye.” He went up to the Canadian arctic to write a book about the decline and imminent demise of polar bears. Instead he found more white bears than any time in at least the last forty years. Polar bears have been used naively or cynically to fund and further a particular brand of environmental politics. Their growing population is an inconvenient truth.

Kudos to the author for the intellectual honesty to report the un-PC truth. Had he reported sad stories about heartbreak and loss, the movement would have hailed him. What I find interesting about this is the credibility the author seems to have, probably because he had intended to write a different sort of book.

I have known about rising polar bear populations for years. It was an open secret, but somehow just had no traction. In fact, I remember seeing a confrontation between Al Gore and a polite young man described as a heckler who ask big Al how he could square growing polar bear populations with his dire predictions of polar bear extinction. Gore dodged the question with the kind of sanctimonious put down that only liberals are allowed to use when they are caught in an inconvenient untruth. Mentioning growing polar bears populations was considered rude in some circles.

Let's be clear what rising polar bear population does not mean. It does not disprove global warming any more than a warm summer proves it. What it does say is that wild animal populations can and should be managed and not treated as untouchable. We should not humanize animals. Polar bears are big, dangerous and an increasingly common menace. We might want to bring back some hunting.
Something very interesting happened to nature in North America over the last generation. Wild animal populations have grown unexpectedly. Wolves are back in the West; coyotes are spreading to places where they never lived before and even mountain lions are present in places where they have not been for more than a century. Of course, the bigger nuisances are geese, deer & beavers. On the plus side, resurgent hawk populations have significantly reduced the pigeon population in many cities. I am hoping that maybe the coyotes or foxes can do the same to the geese.

I recall when geese were kind of rare and interesting. Now we have scores of those shit machines soiling the parks. I learned an interesting fact about the geese of the cities. I wondered why they never migrated. I assumed that they just hung around because they had lots to eat in the artificially rich environments of our city parks and lawns. This is what enables them to stay, but they don't migrate because they never did. In the old days, commercial hunting of geese was legal. Hunters had live decoys - captive geese with clipped wings. After several generations, these geese were essentially domesticated. When conservationists wanted to restore local geese populations, these are the animals they mostly used. They didn't migrate because they had no place else to go and most of the geese you see in the park are their progeny. These geese in the hood are corrupting wild geese, which mix with them and find an easier life living off the largess of man than flying all across the continent.
This is a general challenge of wildlife management. It is often easier for animals to find food around people than it is in the wild environment. They are attracted to human settlements where human-animal conflicts become problems. It is made worse when people try to treat animals like people, i.e. when they share food and try to approach them. The animals lose their fear of people and bad things tend to ensue.

Activists have long used animals to further their own causes. They sometimes claim to speak for the animals. This is useful, since nobody can ask the animals what they think. Polar bears are good looking and despite their ornery and aggressive natures people think of them as gentle giants. They look good on posters. That is why they became the poster-animal for global warming fears. I wonder if the inconvenient truth that their populations are growing will influence this. Probably not. Some people stumble over the truth, but the get up, dust themselves off and continue on their way as before.

Posted by Christine & John at February 9, 2013 8:40 AM
Comments
Comment #361481

Never waste a crisis; in the case of proving GW, a made up crisis. Someone needs to let Animal Planet and the Discover Channel know, because they are still drowning Polar Bears in the open ocean, due to the loss of ice packs. I live in the state of Ohio. When I was a kid, there were no deer where I lived, no Canadian geese, no wild turkeys, no coyotes, no wild hogs, no black bears, and no mountain lions. Today we have all the above. The deer showed up in the late 60’s, and the predators followed. But, look at the bright side; all we have to do to feed our families (since Obama is destroying our economy), is shoot game from the back porch. Providing we still have guns to shoot them with.

Posted by: George at February 9, 2013 10:43 AM
Comment #361482

George

I think the great untold environmental story of the late 20th Century is return of forests and wildlife in North America. This is a battle that we have mostly won.

There remain lots of environmental problems to be addressed, but we have enjoyed remarkable and largely unexpected success.

Posted by: C&J at February 9, 2013 11:51 AM
Comment #361483

There are so many deer in my neck of the woods that the auto repair shops are thriving. These deer are so dumb and so big that they can total a car. Most can’t afford to purchase a new car so they drive without the headlight or the busted windshield creating a greater threat to themselves and others.

I have a solution to the deer problem.
They are popular because of the revenue generated by the purchase of hunting licences. People enjoy hunting deer. My solution involves the construction of large pens to hold the deer captive. When a person wants to hunt a deer we send them into the pen with the cloths on their back. They can use the natural resources inside the pen to fashion weapons. If they succeed in a successful hunt they can carry the deer out of the pen. If not, we will send in the family to carry them out.

Problem solved. People can enjoy the thrill of the hunt, the government can get it’s precious money, and the stupid deer will be off the road!

Posted by: Weary Willie at February 9, 2013 2:44 PM
Comment #361484

I have absolutely no faith in the science community to ever tell us the truth. GW research is like cancer research; as soon as we find the cure for cancer, billions of dollars in research will dry up. As long as the GW alarmist tell the truth, that it is simply natural occurrences, the GW funds will dry up. The story about the Polar Bears is simply the tip of the iceberg of lies.

Posted by: George at February 9, 2013 3:12 PM
Comment #361485

Weary

If you could capture all the deer, it would not be a traffic problem. The easier solution is to extend hunting seasons and perhaps allow some limited commercial hunting.

George

Science is very diverse. We have discovered cures for many sorts of cancer, but cancer is not a single disease. You cannot find a cure for “cancer” per se.

Re global warming - the planet has warmed and cooled over the centuries. We are currently in a warming phase. “Scientists” disagree about the details. The problem is not with science, which is self-correcting. The problem is with abuse of science and those that claim science when they are furthering their own goals.

The most prominent science abuser in the world is Al Gore. When he made his movie, he must have known he was lying about most details, but he thought that he needed to shock so he lied. The polar bear meme is a similar thing. People who know little about wildlife management are easily swayed.

There is no alternative to basing decisions on the scientific method. Science will be wrong, but it has the advantage of constantly working to get closer to the truth. Good scientists understand that they can get closer to truth, but never achieve the whole truth.

Non-scientific societies are prey to superstition. People believe in witches, astrology, ghosts and demons. Some people in a modern society still believe in these things, but they are not mainstream.

Posted by: C&J at February 9, 2013 4:01 PM
Comment #361486

C&J,
There are 19 distinct polar bear populations in the far North. Eight are in decline, three are stable, and there is insufficient data on the rest (as of 2009). While it is true the population rebounded after the hunting ban in 1973, the bears continue to have endangered status due to the threat to their environment. Polar bears depend on sea ice to hunt seals, and without the ice, they starve. There has been a significant melting of the arctic sea ice, and this continues to threaten the polar bears.

“The average sea ice extent for January 2013 was 13.78 million square kilometers (5.32 million square miles). This is 1.06 million square kilometers (409,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for the month, and is the sixth-lowest January extent in the satellite record. The last ten years (2004 to 2013) have seen the ten lowest January extents in the satellite record.”
http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

An area of ice cover in Greenland and Canada is the last area likely to lose its sea ice, so that will be the firewall against polar bear extinction. For the rest of the far north, it does not look good at all.

George,
Sorry to introduce data from those lying scientists about the loss of arctic sea ice, satellite imagery, and so on. You should definitely believe fellow conservatives, Republicans, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, and so on, and make it known, sing it loud; in fact, we progressives are absolutely counting on it.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 4:08 PM
Comment #361487

phx8

One of the tricks you can use is count sub-populations. Every plant and animal has a natural range. Someplace near the edge of that natural range it is rare and could be called endangered.

This species can be properly managed. It is only endangered if we don’t manage it.

There is a kind of sadness in what we might call the end of wild. Every species in the world is now in some ways managed by humans. The management can be good or bad, but it is management just the same. We need to accept that “the wild” is just areas we designate.

Re habitat. I have seen this before. I studies wildlife management in the 1970s. Researchers told us that animals such as wild turkeys, cougars and wolves required large unbroken habitats else they could not survive. These animals have all become locally common. Turkeys have grown into pests.

Previously successful animals adapt, as have wolves and other sorts of bears. A species is a temporary thing in the great scheme of biological history anyway. Polar bears will adapt and perhaps transform just as their ancestors did. Polar bears developed from brown bears when their populations were isolated by glaciers. Things change. Polar bears can interbreed with grizzly bears and produce viable offspring, indicating that they are perhaps as much a race of grizz as a species. The biggest “danger” to polar bears is that they in fact interbreed enough to essentially eliminate the distinctive white race of bears. How much this change matters is a value choice.

Re the sea ice - the large polar bear populations around Churchill are evidently not dependent on permanent ice. It is an unpleasant truth that they are mostly “garbagavores”. To the extent that the bears are indeed dependent on extensive sea ice, they are already doomed, since CO2 already in the air and what the Chinese will put there in the next twenty years is enough to end that way of life.

Posted by: C&J at February 9, 2013 5:38 PM
Comment #361488

Ever look into the Republican members on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology for the 113th Congress?

Lamar S. Smith, Texas, Chairman
Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin
Ralph Hall, Texas
Dana Rohrabacher, California, Vice Chairman
Frank Lucas, Oklahoma
Randy Neugebauer, Texas
Michael McCaul, Texas
Paul Broun, Georgia
Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
Mo Brooks, Alabama
Andy Harris, Maryland
Randy Hultgren, Illinois
Larry Bucshon, Indiana

New Republicans for the 113th:
Steve Stockman, Texas
Bill Posey, Florida
Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming
David Schweikert, Arizona
Thomas Massie, Kentucky
Kevin Cramer, North Dakota
Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma
Randy Weber, Texas
Chris Stewart, Utah

Take time to review their stands on Global Warming. There are some real doozies, starting with the Chair, who calls the people concerned about Climate Change “global warming alarmists” (and takes $500,000 from the oil & gas industry); Paul Broun, who said:

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. It’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who are taught that from understanding that they need a savior. There’s a lot of scientific data that I found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I believe that the Earth is about 9,000 years old. I believe that it was created in six days as we know them.”

Remember, this is the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Jim Sensebrenner, who said in 2009: “we’ve actually had global cooling in the last ten years.” That is wrong. It’s a simple matter of data. We’ve had warming.

This could go on and on. In 2007, 87% of House Repubicans did not believe in Global Warming.

Bobbie Jindal is right. The Republican Party has got to “stop being the stupid party.” But it’s a long row to hoe, because when it comes to Global Warming, the House GOP is a virtual Who’s Who of stupid people.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 5:49 PM
Comment #361489

The town of Churchill is next to Hudson Bay. Those bears depend on sea ice for hunting seals too. They’re not just ambling around a city in the middle of the tundra.

Some animals and plants are flexible enough that they can survive the destruction of their preferred habitat. Most animals and plants are not. We see creatures like coyotes, turkeys, and others because they successfully adapted. We see others because human settlement has encroached upon their habitat, for example, cougars and black bears. They have not adapted and cannot survive prolonged contact without bad results for all concerned. I’m no expert on polar bears, but I suspect they would fall into this category.

We do not see the animals and plants that went extinct. And there are far more that have gone extinct. Global Warming will result in many, many more extinctions.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 6:38 PM
Comment #361490

By the way, the author of this book, Zac Unger, has NO expertise with this topic. He has been a firefighter since 1998. Before that, he majored in Range Management at Brown (they have Range Managementment at Brown? Who knew?), but never actually managed a range.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 7:08 PM
Comment #361491

phx8

Bears is bears - They will eat what they find around. If they are depending on sea ice in Hudson bay, they have problems from July to November.

Re cougars and black bears - they have expanded their ranges in the last forty years. Cougars were essentially extinct except in the Rockies and Cascades. Today they are well established in the Black Hills and there are signings east of the Mississippi. Bears were rare outside the mountains. Where I have land in southern Virginia, nobody had seen a bear for 100 years until about ten years ago. Now those things are on my land. I am encouraging my hunting neighbors to kill them if possible.

Indeed we encroached on the habitat of cougars and bears 300 years ago, since they were common in what became every state. Our ancestors wisely wiped them out. Now new animals are encroaching on us. Cougars and bears are dangerous. I don’t propose to share my habitat with them.

Re extinctions and global warming - I think you are correct, but the die is cast on this. Our only choice now is how to manage it.

Re managing a range - Most people who study range management don’t really get experience managing a range. The best they can usually do is work with landowners like me. I studied wildlife management in college in Wisconsin. Although I have no degree in it, but some experience. It is not really a science, more of an art. Much of the science I learned in school is now rejected by scientists today and I figure the same will befall today’s science thirty of forty years hence. That does not mean it is not useful, but it is always a work in progress.

I get write the tree farmer of the year articles for Virginia and have been doing that for seven years now. In that capacity, I have visited many forests and get to talk to the best managers. In addition, I have talked to land managers from all over the U.S. and in Europe and South America. Good management varies even a few mile away. Different dirt and different micro-climates. It also changes a lot with time. I let scientists from Virginia Tech use my land. They are always learning new things. Some of the things they learn from old guys who just have been watching things. What wildlife species need to thrive is really not well known. Scientific ideas change a lot as experience adds to knowledge. I am not sure it is “knowable” because of the dynamism.

It may well be the case the polar bears living on sea ice are doomed. I think they are in that “lifestyle” and there is nothing we can do about it. But I doubt they are in much danger of physical extinction. They breed fairly easily and will do it in captivity.

We won’t save polar bears by featuring their pictures on posters. We have the manage the populations, which will mean moving some of them and shooting some of them. We know more or less how to do it.

Posted by: C&J at February 9, 2013 7:52 PM
Comment #361492

We do not see the animals and plants that went extinct. And there are far more that have gone extinct. Global Warming will result in many, many more extinctions.
Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 6:38 PM

Well, I guess that is partly true, we no longer have dinosaurs roaming around and the passenger pigeon no longer flies. You must know of course that specie extinction is as natural and normal as breathing. You must also know that thousands of new species have risen up over the millennium.

We are today discovering new species in our deepest oceans with regularity.

Posted by: Royal Flush at February 9, 2013 7:55 PM
Comment #361493

C&J,
Btw, the author of this book embedded himself with scientists. The issue is not whether Global Warming is occurring; both the scientists and the author agree. The debate is whether polar bears may be able to adapt despite the loss of sea ice in most of their range.

Royal Flush,
Natural extinction events fill the history record. What makes what is happening now so unusual is that it is a man-made extinction event. Furthermore, it will extend to far more than just the poster animals and apex predators; the real danger comes from the loss of the small creatures at the base of the pyramid; for example, the changing ph due to the absorbtion of CO2 threatens the ability of foraminifera to make their shells. If the ph changes enough, the extinction event in the oceans would dwarf what we see on land.

We might shrug off the loss of species, if it were no more than a question of morality. After all, who cares about polar bears, or forams so tiny they can hardly even be seen? But the question has very practical and possibly very bad consequences for humanity.

The issue of Global Warming is the issue of our time, the issue of the 21st century. And when it comes to this issue, there is nothing more appalling than seeing the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology in complete denial of the facts, while simultaneously taking huge amounts of money from the fossil fuel industry.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 8:11 PM
Comment #361494

phx8

Right. I don’t think polar bears will be able to continue with what we might call their current lifestyles. If they don’t adapt, they will be gone, but I expect they will adapt.

Posted by: C&J at February 9, 2013 8:17 PM
Comment #361495

C&J,

“If they don’t adapt, they will be gone, but I expect they will adapt.”

Maybe they could move to George or Willie’s place. Apparently there’s lots of food there.

Rocky

Posted by: Rocky Marks at February 9, 2013 9:03 PM
Comment #361496

“Bobbie Jindal is right. The Republican Party has got to “stop being the stupid party.”

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 5:49 PM

Is that what Bobbie Jindal was talking about? Or are you just farting in the wind?

“We see others because human settlement has encroached upon their habitat, for example, cougars and black bears.”

This phx8, is BS; as I said, I live in Ohio and black bears have not been in Ohio for say 100 years, yet they are here now. About a year ago a cougar was spotted within 20 miles of my house, at two locations. Predators follow the prey; the deer appeared in the 60’s and the predators follow. It has nothing to do with human settlements encroaching upon their habitat. You are correct, you are no expert.

“The issue of Global Warming is the issue of our time, the issue of the 21st century.”

No, the issue of GW is the scam of our time; it is the new religion of the left. If GW is caused by man, then the problem is not in America. It is in China, where millions of tons of pollution are pumped into the air every year. Got any ideas how to shut down China?

I find the hypocrisy of the left to unfathomable. They worry about the polar bears, the whales, the snail darters, owls, insects, or the planet; but they will fight tooth and nail to call a baby a fetus, just a piece of flesh and have no problem with the destruction of human life. The only extinction of species the left would have no problem with are humans.

By the way phx8, I never listen to Limbaugh, Hannity, or Beck; I have no idea what their positions are on GW and don’t care, so blow you smoke another direction.

Posted by: George at February 9, 2013 9:18 PM
Comment #361497

George,
Here is the quote from Bobbie Jindal, GOP Governor of LA, delievered to the Republican National Committee:

“We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.”

Black bears never left OH. They were nearly exterminated, but re-discovered in 1973. They did not disappear due to lack of prey, but due to hunting. Currently there are estimated to be at least 60 black bears in the state. Some may have been pushed into OH from PA due to an already established, territorial population of adult males.

I live on the edge of the Portland, OR metro area. We had a pair of black bear cubs in a tree two houses down, in the green belt. It caused a real stir, because everyone wondered about the mother. Cougars appear from time to time. The bears and cougars have always been here. The change came with the encroachment of neighborhoods into their territory.

Re Global Warming-
It is real. It is not a monstrous lie foisted on the world by scientists. It is not some sort of religion. It is very simple. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.

You know how, if you leave your car windows rolled up on a sunny day, it makes the inside of the car really hot, even hotter than outside? The windows create a greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas. A greenhouse gas. The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is measureable, and so is the increase in worldwide temperature.

In the past, normal astronomical cycles coincided with warm and cold eras. No natural cycle or change in the sun explains what is happening today. The change today is cause by man.

Up until now, the US has been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gases. Talking countries like China and India into controlling their output of greenhouse gases is difficult, because they see no justice in it. They ask ‘how come it was ok for you to develop your society while creating all those greenhouse gases, while we are supposed to remain undeveloped.’

Re human life:
A baby has already been born and is independent of the mother.
A fetus has not been born and is still part of the mother.

Virtually every society in human history has defined a human life as beginning at birth, with many societies pushing that back to the age of two or three.

Posted by: phx8 at February 9, 2013 9:50 PM
Comment #361498

phx2

“A baby has already been born and is independent of the mother.
A fetus has not been born and is still part of the mother.”

Your definition and not the standard definition.
Sure not very scientific as you pontificate to be. There is too much scientific data to kick your butt with. At least your hemorroids will be gone.

Posted by: hal farmis at February 10, 2013 4:49 AM
Comment #361499

phx8

Re lions and bears - places like Ohio and Virginia belong to us. Our ancestors pushed out the bears and the lions and if people like me have our way, and we will, they will mostly stay out.

They have “always been there” but in very small numbers until recently. I am not sure what position you are taking here. Certainly we won’t allow large populations of cougars or bears to reestablish themselves in settled areas. They are not benign.

Re encroachment - you are just wrong about that unless you want to go back 200 years. The populations of cougars, bears and others has grown. They were NOT there before in any numbers. If their numbers had not grown, human cougar/bear interface would not have grown. Our dilemma is how much we want to allow them to return.

Re human life - this is not as simple as you say and I bet you have mixed feelings. Parents who want their babies treat them as humans before they are born. We spend lots of money to try to save premature babies. The distinction that it becomes life the moment it comes out is not one that is recognized by most people or most societies.

Most societies have recognized infanticide as acceptable. We do not. The irony is that we will allow abortion of healthy babies, but if we have a baby born with severe defects, we will not put him/her out of misery and will spend fortunes to maintain him/her even thought we are morally certain that we will never have a normal adult.

The more interesting permutation is one that I play with pro-abortion people. I believe that abortion should be legal, but I think it is generally a bad thing. Abortion advocates are annoyed by my “bad thing” addition. But I believe that it is good and moral to abort babies with deficiencies such as Downs syndrome or crippling defects. Many pro-choice types thing this is terrible. But if you support abortion on demand, you cannot be against selective abortions for useful reasons.

We could probably eliminate Downs syndrome in the population. Of course, since it is not hereditary, we would have to keep vigilant. Some sorts of hereditary diseases could indeed be eliminated with proper management.

Posted by: C&J at February 10, 2013 4:54 AM
Comment #361503

C&J,
I don’t have particularly strong feelings about wildlife management one way or another, other than ones most people share. I don’t want to see animals treated cruelly or hunted for ‘sport.’ I don’t want to see the extinction of species. Living in the same environment as top level predators and omnivores isn’t a good idea if it can possibly be avoided. We all have a responsiblity to be good stewards of the earth, and pass on something fine to our posterity.

My feelings about abortion are, once again, similar to most people. I’ve been a father, twice, and I’m familiar with the experience. No one likes abortion, but ultimately it’s not my choice, or your choice, or anyone’s choice other than the mother’s choice.

When unmarried friends of mine found out she was in the early stages of pregnancy, they decided to have an abortion. They asked me my opinion. Since they asked, I answered. I told them they should marry and keep the baby. They didn’t like that answer, and they didn’t take my advice. I think they both would have ultimately had happier lives if they had listened, but, you know what? It wasn’t up to me.

I was born under similar circumstances. My parents married and stayed married.

A relative of mine found out early in her pregnancy that the baby would be suffer from Downs. She was devastated. In addition to be Catholic, she desperately wanted that baby. She had a medical background, and the Doctor spelled out what she already knew, about just how bad that situation could be if she went through with it. Most of those pregnancies end spontaneously in miscarriage or the death of the fetus shortly after birth. The associated medical conditions are bad for those who survive the first few days, and retardation can be anywhere from mild to severe. Anyone who is unfortunate enough to know about sever retardation knows it’s abolutely horrible. Very few survive into adulthood. It’s a hard thing to face, and it took her years to recover from that.

No likes late term abortions, but those are very rare, and usually involve life threatening situations.

In any event, it’s the choice of the Mother.

Posted by: phx8 at February 10, 2013 11:49 AM
Comment #361506

I love the way liberals like to invoke the “Down Syndrome” and “Birth Defects” when justifying the abortion and murder of babies. Perhaps phx8 could tell us what percent of abortions are because of birth defects and what percent are simply birth control? Regarding “baby” or “fetus”; since our founding fathers based this nation upon Judeo/Christian principles, perhaps we should go by the Old Testament definition of when life begins? But we can’t do that, can we phx8…that would require a belief in morality.

God, when speaking to Jeremiah said in Jer 1:5, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”


Perhaps you should stick to your knowledge of the Oregon back woods, since the only knowledge you have of Ohio comes from Wikipedia.

Posted by: George at February 10, 2013 1:30 PM
Comment #361507

Eccl. 6:3-5 “If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things, and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, `Better the miscarriage than he, for it comes in futility and goes into obscurity; and its name is covered in obscurity. It never sees the sun and it never knows anything; it is better off than he.”

Game. Set. Match.

The Jeremiah verse refers to predestination, the special nature of a prophet, and some vague threats:

“See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

And

“From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.”

I dunno. Call me picky. I just like religions that tend not to favor one tribe over another, or that threaten to destroy peoples in order to advance belief. Any sanctity of life doctrine seems very iffy in this particular verse, given God’s willingness to uproot, tear down, destroy, ovethrow, and reign disaster upon the land.

Posted by: phx8 at February 10, 2013 1:50 PM
Comment #361508

Why do some folks call themselves climate skeptics, when they are so averse to actually putting their conclusions to the test?

You’re taking the anecdotal evidence from a guy who planted himself in a notorious hotspot of polar bears (I’d heard of the place before) as evidence that polar bear numbers are not shrinking. But as phx8’s evidence shows, there are substantial downturn in their numbers, relative to their peaks, relative to what they would be if sea ice cycles were what they were.

The recorded population declines seem to be in the areas where the most bears have been found.

Skeptics. They should have to pay a dollar everytime they call themselves that, because they’re really just trying to buy a free-thinking image their failure to perform due diligence on the facts doesn’t merit.

The truth of the matter is, if you’ve got an obvious possibility you’ve offered, the real scientists, the people whose reputations are staked on getting it right, have already gone over it. You don’t think solar irradiance was the first place they looked? You don’t think that with all this talk of El Nino, of the ENSO, and other climate cycles that they weren’t looking into that position, too? You think the Milankovic Cycles are an new idea to them?

Folks just go off on implausible tangents here, mostly to trip up people barely less ignorant than themselves. That’s what this bull**** is for, really. It’s not for people like me who know what the Scientists have already looked at and considered.

All estimates of future climate change, you should realize, include large amounts of future CO2 emissions in the model.

Which is to say, when they say it might go up two to six degrees celsius, part of what they’re predicting depends on what we do. That’s always been the case, and it is what offends me about your fatalism. Nothing is written, yet. The Chinese are finding out, just like we did, that coal emissions are no picnic. We can change the proportion of renewables and fossil fuels. Some change in already in the pipeline, so to speak, but not all.

The biggest obstacle isn’t technology, it’s politics, and it’s also the bizarre, paranoid schizophrenic conspiracy theories invented to explain why competing scientists haven’t tried to undercut each other by coming up with new results.

Ockham’s razor, basically. Either there’s a huge conspiracy to conceal growing polar bear populations, and a lack of global warming, or these things are happening, and the consensus is settling on this because it’s the simplest way to explain the facts.

Republicans have dozens of explanations that essentially go along the lines of thousands of professionals in one field or another deliberately and maliciously playing subversives to the national interests. But the simpler explanation to our current state of affairs is that the people who set policy, mainly your people, screwed it up. The theories were sound in their minds, but did not work out in practice.

For some that means changing your mind, but when a culture has developed that treats changing your mind either as a sign of weakness or a surrender to an ideological enemy, how do you correct things?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 10, 2013 4:17 PM
Comment #361509

George

I invoked those things and I am not a liberal. You can blame phx8 for other things.

phx8

I don’t want to see animals treated cruelly or hunted for ‘sport.’

How many animals should be harvested and where is the responsibly of the proper authorities. Why people want to hunt is none of our business. In many places, I would be grateful if people just shot deer or beavers and let them lay there. If people are willing to pay fees in order to put an animal head on the wall, I would be happy to take their money.

Re abortion – I think we generally agree. I do think that we should better address the problem of birth defects. It is indeed the choice of the mother, but if the baby she chooses to have requires long term care and expense she should be apprised of the expense and trouble she and her family will incur.

Stephen

I think that global warming is probable. What I was talking about is wildlife management.

Polar bears need not go extinct, even if there is significant warming.

Posted by: C&J at February 10, 2013 4:56 PM
Comment #361511

Perhaps phx8 could answer the other part of the question:

“I love the way liberals like to invoke the “Down Syndrome” and “Birth Defects” when justifying the abortion and murder of babies. Perhaps phx8 could tell us what percent of abortions are because of birth defects and what percent are simply birth control?”

Let’s try that with the KJV instead of the liberal version; but I fail to see the significance of you even quoting the verse. Please explain.

“Ecc 6:3 If a man beget an hundred children, and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also that he have no burial; I say, that an untimely birth is better than he.
Ecc 6:4 For he cometh in with vanity, and departeth in darkness, and his name shall be covered with darkness.
Ecc 6:5 Moreover he hath not seen the sun, nor known any thing: this hath more rest than the other.”

“The Jeremiah verse refers to predestination, the special nature of a prophet, and some vague threats:”

The Jeremiah verse refers to the fact that Jeremiah was called from the womb to be a prophet, it has nothing to do with predestination. In fact, I doubt you even understand the definition of predestination.

Posted by: George at February 10, 2013 5:35 PM
Comment #361512

C&J,

Whether or not polar bear populations are growing or shrinking isn’t that relevant. Anthropogenic global warming may pose a threat to polar bear populations, but the costs it imposes upon us humans are far greater and far more relevant.

George,
Firstly, none of our founding documents mentions any “Judeo-Christian” principals. Our founding fathers were a diverse lot; some of them were deists, some were Roman Catholic, and the rest were Protestants of every stripe. The first amendment to the Constitution codified our 240 year old tradition of secularism.

Secondly, we have this:

the fact that Jeremiah was called from the womb to be a prophet

Huh? The text you cited says “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee”. This would imply that God knew Jeremiah before he was conceived, which I don’t think is what you are trying to say.

Posted by: Warren Porter at February 10, 2013 6:21 PM
Comment #361513

To tell the truth, George, I really don’t care about Christianity or Judaism or Islam. From my point of view, they are practically identical, although I’m sure their practicioners see big differences. Anyway, you’re welcome to practice whichtever one appeals to you. We’re all assured freedom of religion as well as freedom from a state-etablished religion. So, by all means, do as you please. Hopefully it gives you comfort and solace. To me, the Middle Eastern tribal religions seem violent and judgmental, and heavily reliant upon miracles and mysteries and appeals to supernatural authority. It strkes me as primitive, and I’m just not interested, and I certainly don’t consider appeals to your own personal religious beliefs or citing shaky translations of ancient religious texts as credible, convincing arguments for how I and others should act.

Posted by: phx8 at February 10, 2013 6:38 PM
Comment #361514

Another translation: “A man may have a hundred children and live many years; yet no matter how long he lives, if he cannot enjoy his prosperity and does not receive proper burial, I say that a stillborn child is better off than he. 4 It comes without meaning, it departs in darkness, and in darkness its name is shrouded.”

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

The word “before” sure makes this sound like predestination.

This illustrates the difficulty of appealing to a translated text from over 2,000 years ago. It might be interesting for scholars, but it just doesn’t work on a modern, practical level. The idea that Jehovah favored the towns of Judah, appointed some guy named Jeremiah a prophet, and then threatened to reign destruction on towns beyond Judah in order to advance the cause of Judah, is simply ludicrous.

Posted by: phx8 at February 10, 2013 7:03 PM
Comment #361515

phx8

Everybody knows that those Jebusites & Moabites had a smiting coming, along with the evil stalactites, stalagmites and terabytes.

Posted by: C&J at February 10, 2013 7:25 PM
Comment #361518

C&J-
If their habitat or their best source of food goes away, it could force them towards it. They might readapt, but the thing I would say is that Human-driven events have a tendency to affect creatures faster than they can biologically adapt, changing the way things are in mere centuries.

As for probable? The coins been flipped on this. Probable is no longer a factor. The events one would associate with warming are occuring.

That’s the inconvenient truth, and no matter how many people your political confederates try and discredit, events are going to unfold that discredit folks who tried to assert it was all a socialist conspiracy.

The trouble is, conservatives are holding back measures that could, right now, start us down a different path, with different results. Not neutral results compared to what was, mind you, but a heck of a lot better than an extreme rise in heat a lack of intervention will create.

And one other thing: the earlier you start intervening, the subtler, and less painful the measures you need to employ to effect that intervention. If you prefer conservative methods, I would say you should prefer the methods that change things less drastically, with less potential for brute force attempts at directly bringing things about.

If things continue to deteriorate, and people get hit with a serious of climate-relatable events, it’s going to push public opinion towards more drastic measures. You might think that improbable, but just look at the gun lobby. If they can end up on the wrong side of a shift in public opinion, how much safer are your interests, especially considering that the climate concerns are more pressing in the wake of Katrina and now Sandy?

The game the GOP is playing is trying to hold off change absolutely. But when change is needed, when change is wanted, I believe that’s an exercise in deferring pain, not preventing it. You need to realize that in some important ways, the debate has been lost on your side. Only from there can you really construct a solution that is both conservative, and responsive to the situation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 10, 2013 8:28 PM
Comment #361519

Stephen

Their ice habitat IS going away. According to the current scientific formulation, there is enough CO2 in the air now and the Chinese will put a lot more in the next ten years.

Once the earth is warmer, nobody will want to cool it off again, even if that is possible. But no matter, polar bears will suffer at least a few generations w/o the habitat, according to current science. That means if they really need that habitat, they are finished. Imagine a situation where you get no food for a year but after that it is plentiful. Does that help?

You are actually more optimistic about climate change than I am. Current science tells us it WILL happen with the CO2 already in the air. Current politics tells us that even if the U.S. went down to zero emissions, the Chinese will produce more CO2 in 2020 than the whole world did in 1990.

We also know that U.S. CO2 emissions have dropped to 1994 levels and that we may indeed reach the levels we would have reached had we signed the Kyoto. We are doing better than anybody else in the last decade. I don’t know if “my” people or yours did that, but it happened.

So you have indeed achieved what you demanded five years ago, but it won’t matter. You need to talk to those Chinese, Indians et al. Obama is president. That is his job. You said that if we reduced, they would follow our example. We reduced. Now what.

Re polar bears - if they really need that sea ice, they will die out. Nothing can be done to save them at this point. I suspect, however, that they will adapt. All bears are omnivores. Polar bears can dine on garbage and like it, as they are evidently doing already.

Posted by: C&J at February 10, 2013 8:46 PM
Comment #374316

I live on Cape Cod, where the centuries old fishing industry is threatened with extinction. We are told that overfishing has killed off our groundfish population. Through the 1960s, there was a bounty on seals, and the seal population of the Cape and Islands was reduced to about 500. The bounty ended when Congress passed the Marine mammal protection act in 1972. As seems to be common when the government gets involved in trying to regulate nature, this had unintended consequences. While it brought about a laudable increase in the whale population, we woke up one day a year or two ago and realized that there are now close to 20,000 seals in this neck of the woods. With each one capable of eating a huge quantity of fish in a 24-hour period, it is no wonder that fish of all kinds are decreasing in numbers – and it is not just due to human activity. Another byproduct of this is the fouling of our beaches, a very important part of our tourist economy, by seal excrement which causes temporary shutdowns of beaches because of increases in the bacteria count. Perhaps the most startling byproduct of this increase is the fact that the seals’ main predator – great white sharks – are appearing in our waters and ever increasing numbers, causing shutdowns of our beaches often during peak times such as labor day weekend. However – should you be brazen enough to suggest a constructive solution, such as reintroduction of a limited bounty – the moon bats go absolutely crazy. Thus, we are treated to the spectacle of our local officials and politicians wringing their hands and suggesting “solutions” such as seal tours, etc., which, while nice, are no substitute for Cape Cod’s chief tourist attraction – our beaches. They are also no substitute for another mainstay of our economy – our fisheries.

Posted by: John W. at November 18, 2013 11:40 AM
Comment #374317

I should have pointed out that another factor in the problems our fisheries have been having is our government’s failure to regulate the activities of huge factory ships off of our shores. Though this was a worse problem back in the days of the USSR, when their ships would rape our waters with impunity, it is still a problem. A previous director of the national Marine fisheries service was quoted as having said that it is easier for them to regulate a small fleet of huge factory ships then numerous small fleets of family own fishing vessels of the sort that sale from New England ports. It is not unlike the problem that our family farmers have been facing for years now – the favoritism shown by government toward massive corporate farming interests at the expense of the traditional family farmer. In the case of our fisheries, it seems to be yet another example of the harnessing of environmental concerns in the service of corporate interests.

Posted by: John W. at November 18, 2013 11:48 AM
Comment #374318

Please forgive the misspellings in the above. I keep forgetting that voice recognition technology is not all it’s cracked up to be. I know how to spell “sail-” but apparently my phone does not….

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