Thickening Ice, Weakening Argument

by William Yeatman on May 5, 2008

This week a federal judge in California ordered the Secretary of the Interior to decide by May 15th whether to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

This frenzied push to list the polar bear may be due to this graph. It appears that not only was this year’s Arctic ice maximum later than last year’s, but the ice extent has rebounded about 50% from last year towards the 1979-2000 average (but NSIDC won’t say that!) and appears to be increasing. It’s pretty hard to claim that the bears will die because of lack of ice if the ice extent is growing.

To cover their bases, an environmental pressure group, the Center for Biological Diversity, has also petitioned to list the ribbon seal as a threatened species because of global warming. But this sounds like cross-purposes, since polar bears eat seals….

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