Environmental protection is saving polar bears – Chico Enterprise-Record


Anthony Watts continues to deny or minimize the findings of climate scientists and scientific organizations. Climate change is a serious threat but Mr. Watts keeps misstating or misinterpreting the facts. No room to rebut all his statements, so I’ll just address his assertion that polar bear populations are increasing, implying that climate change is irrelevant.

Of the 19 polar bear populations across the Arctic today, only two are increasing, four are declining, five are stable, and the other eight lack sufficient data. Several studies do indicate that the bears’ overall population has increased since about 1970 from about 12,000 to maybe 25,000 today. Why? Environmental protection.

Since 1970, numerous laws passed by Russia, Norway, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland restricted or banned hunting and trapping, set aside large protected areas and otherwise allowed polar bear populations to recover from the depredation they suffered since the 1700s.

The Arctic is warming faster than any place on earth, a five-degree centigrade increase in the past 100 years. In the 1980s only one percent of the sea ice in the Central Arctic Ocean was open water; today it is 22 percent. Polar bears need sea ice to hunt, and the reduction is sea ice is statistically linked to a reduction in polar bear weight and survival of cubs. With the disappearance of sea ice, the polar bear population is projected to decline by 30 percent in 30 years.

— Roger Lederer, Chico



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