Wednesday, December 27, 2006

US forced to face effects of global warming

Microdot points out that the White House is going to finally concede that climate change is real. In an AP report today, we find that polar bears are the creatures who reached through the bureaucratic blockade and touched somebody's sensibilites. Maybe one too many pictures of polar bears swimming desperately for solid ice in the middle of a melting polar region?

Face to face with actual evidence, some government workers -- you know, those people we pay with our taxes to take care of our common goods and interests -- have realized that polar bears have to be put on the endangered species list before it is too late. The polar bear population is between 21-25,000 (2001 count) and here is a handy click on map of the polar region, where you can read descriptions of various polar bear populations. For example:

"Kara Sea

This population includes the Kara Sea and overlaps in the west with the Barents Sea population in the area of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya archipelagos. The information for the Kara and Barents Seas, in the vicinity of Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya, is mainly based on aerial surveys and den counts (Parovshikov 1965, Belikov and Maeteev 1983, Uspenski 1989, Belikov et al. 1991, Belikov and Gorbunov 1991, Belikov 1993). Studies of movements, using telemetry, have been done throughout the area but data to define the eastern boundary are incomplete (Belikov et al. 1998, Mauritzen et al. in press). The population estimate should be regarded as preliminary. Reported harvest activities have been limited to defence kills and an unknown number of illegal kills; these are not thought to be having an impact on the size of the population. However, contaminant levels in rivers flowing into this area and recent information on nuclear and industrial waste disposal raise concerns about the possibility of environmental damage. Recent studies clearly show that polar bears from the Kara Sea have the highest organochlorine pollution levels in the Arctic (Andersen et al. 2001, Lie et al. in press)."

Can we save these beautiful creatures from our own toxic brews and planetary wrecking? Or will polar bears only be viewed in museums?

Photo from: Polar bear diorama at the National Museum of Canada, 1940 (with cubs shot in 1914). Source: Canadian Museum of Nature

1 comment:

microdot said...

Unfortunately, the Whitehouse is still trying to figure out how to acknowlege global warming without talking about carbon dioxide emmission levels.
George, put the past behind you, let bygones be bygones, just take an hour and a half to sit through Gores film, An Unpleasant Truth.
I just saw it in French at out local little theater in Terrasson. It got a special screening in the French Senate a few weeks ago.
To think that the NEA refused to take teaching kits with the movie because it might be seen as a political move in the wrong direction!