October 7, 2022

The Polar Bear Will Remain In Danger While The Media Works To Get Bush To Admit To Global Warming

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Last night on The News Hour on PBS, Gwen Ifill interviewed U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne about the plight of the polar bear. The Bush administration is looking into the possibility of placing the polar bear in Alaska on the threatened list as part of the Endangered Species Act. The most disturbing part of the interview centered around Gwen Ifill’s attempt at getting Secretary Kempthorne to admit that there is such a thing as global warming. I wondered if any threat to the polar bear was of any importance.

In the first part of the interview, Ifill hits Kempthorne with the first question about global warming.

When you say “that trend is now taking place,” are you acknowledging that there is, indeed, global warming which is causing this to happen?

Shortly after listening to Kempthorne’s response to what the process will be to examine the needs of the polar bear, Ifill makes another less direct attempt at addressing global warming.

How do you decide what can and should be done if you don’t know the causes for the melting or you don’t examine the causes for the melting or the warming itself?

Kempthorne addresses her question with this response.

We have to look at modeling and the trend lines. Geologists would say that, in recent history — but, of course, geologists have a different frame of reference on time. But we’ve been through five different ice ages. We’ve been through five different phases where there was warming. Are we now in that again? Man is a contributing factor to that, but to what extent? And, again, that’s beyond the realm of what the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be able to determine in this 12-month period. But what about the animal itself? How adaptive is it to that sort of environment where there may be changes to it. It is a very adaptive animal. What impacts might it have on other species? So all of this will be taken into account as we move forward and make a determination of what finally should be done 12 months from now.

Not being able to thoughtfully process the information Kempthorne was giving her and realizing that the USFWS has prior to this time, made the examination of the five factors for listing the bear, she pounds away one more time with the global warming question.

So it’s not beyond the realm — it is beyond the realm of you to decide exactly what it is that’s causing the warming, but it’s not beyond the realm of you to decide that it was not oil and gas exploration. How did you reach that determination?

During the interview, Kempthorne explained that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went through a process to get to the point where it wanted to consider listing the polar bear as threatened. He explains it this way.

When the Fish and Wildlife Service went through the process of the Endangered Species Act, they’re required to look at five different factors. And there was only one factor, and that was the habitat, that is being diminished, and that is because of melting sea ice.

They specifically looked at a variety of other things — for example, the harvest of the polar bear by native Alaskans. That was not a threat. They looked at oil and gas, energy development in the North Slope in Alaska. That was not a threat. It is one single issue, and that is melting ice, acknowledging that that trend is now taking place.

I find it intriguing that the media gets so bent on getting people like Kempthorne to say that global warming is going to kill us all. This is very similar to when the same media was determined to get President Bush or any of his Cabinet to say there was civil war in Iraq. The focus is on terminology and none of it is on finding a cure.

The Al Gore followers of the world want to have us all dying in a few years if we don’t jump on the global warming band wagon. I know of very few people who wouldn’t agree that at this moment in our time we are going through a climate change. We all know weather goes in cycles and as Kempthorne pointed out, we’ve been through five ice ages and five warming eras.

The one reason that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave for consideration of listing the polar bear was lost of habitat. Their habitat is ice and it is shrinking. Whether the polar bear gets protection or not, we need to address the reasons why our sea ice is disappearing. It is just as irresponsible to claim that carbon dioxide alone is melting the ice as it is to admit nothing is happening. Man is influencing our climate. The question that nobody has seriously been able to answer, despite the media and some scientists claims, is how much is man’s influence and how much is natural climate fluctuations?

The unfortunate thing for the innocent polar bear is that politics will play a role in determining what should be done to protect it. The media will continue its onslaught of trying to trick the Bush administration into saying there is such a thing as global warming. Once they have succeeded in doing that, the polar bear will be forgotten.

Tom Remington