Monday, February 9, 2015

The polar bears are just fine; the bureaucracy is not

It would appear that polar bears are doing fine, but the bureaucracy "looking after" polar bears is hurting so bad that they're faking the numbers on polar bears in an attempt to justify their existence. I've been sitting on these articles for a month or so, but it's still worth bringing them out to expose the mendacity of the climate alarmists. Hat tip to Watts Up With That for both of these, by the way. First of all, it would appear that at least some polar bear scientists think the bears are doing just fine:
The IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) should have been disbanded in 1996, the year polar bears were down-graded from a status of ‘vulnerable to extinction’ to ‘lower risk – conservation dependent’ (now called ‘least concern’) on the IUCN Red List. Polar bears had recovered from previous decades of wanton over-hunting — by all measures used by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, they were a conservation success story.
Why did the IUCN and Arctic governments not break up the PBSG back in 1996? Leaving the group intact once polar bears were down-graded to ‘least concern’ simply made its members desperate to justify their existence. That’s precisely what we’ve seen over the last 20 years — PBSG members working tirelessly to ensure the organization didn’t go extinct.
It would appear that, based on totally inadequate data (and the data they have shows recovery of polar bear populations) the PBSG for 20 years has been desperate to keep itself alive, despite having outlived its purpose. Naturally, they find willing dupes in the media to forward their cause:
Recently, PBSG biologists and some of their employers have been playing the media more than ever, a trick they’ve learned from their conservation activists pals (some of whom are now PBSG members). Down-sizing of science journalism everywhere means that press releases are invariably reprinted word for word and “interviews” are simply opportunities to make statements that wouldn’t pass peer-review.
No one asks tough questions of polar bear researchers and they’ve learned to count on that. PBSG biologists know a compliant, openly-biased media will provide a bullhorn whenever one is needed. Regardless of the actual results of the polar bear research published in peer-reviewed journals, the media simply accept as valid whatever statements authors provide, especially if they imply that the situation for polar bears is worse than ever. Conservation activist groups and activist news writers pile on at every turn.
The opinion that the PBSG is fudging things is  spreading:
It is apparent that the polar bear population indeed recovered because, in 2012, a different survey conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found numbers were higher than they had been since 2002. This critical fact was missing from the new paper, its press release, and interview statements made by some of the co-authors.
It was made clear, however, that the artificially low estimate of 900 bears would be used in the 2015 PBSG population status assessment for their parent organization, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to include in its next Red List of Threatened and Endangered Species. This provides a probable rationale for why the polar bear study end date was set at 2010 rather than 2013.
We know that PBSG biologists are under the gun – they have until June 2015 to come up with a new assessment for the IUCN. Polar bears are not considered threatened with extinction by any measure used by the IUCN except predicted (future) threats from global warming, but the scientific veracity of those predicted threats has now been called into question.
It turns out that the population models used by the U.S. to list polar bears as “threatened” in 2008, developed with strong input from long-standing PBSG member Steven Amstrup, were heavily criticized by IUCN modelling experts. The PBSG has been told that Amstrup’s model results will not be accepted as support for the next IUCN Red List assessment. In addition, all sea ice predictive models are now acknowledged to be unreliable over future 10-20 year periods.
The PBSG is fighting for its life. Whether polar bears are doing so, as well, is immaterial to the PBSG. Come June, the IUCN might abolish the PBSG, as well they should. Environmental "science" is run by activists -- and that includes the scientists pushing global warming alarmism. They get grant money to push these theories, which are based on models shown to be unreliable, which is a nice way of saying "wrong."  The polar bears are doing fine. Naturally, a group established to make sure polar bears are doing fine would say they aren't -- after all, the purpose of any bureaucracy is to ensure the survival of the bureaucracy. Doubt me? Who the hell works themselves out of a job? And let me know how many federal agencies have been eliminated because they achieved their purpose. Damn few.

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