Expert Comment: ESA Listing for Polar Bears Unsupported by Sound Science

Published February 5, 2008

(Chicago, Illinois – February 5, 2008) U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne is expected to decide as early as this week that polar bears should be listed as a “threatened” species in the U.S.

Although polar bear populations are not currently in decline, Kempthorne believes global warming may threaten them in the future. He first proposed the listing in December 2006, launching a year-long public comment period.

Experts contacted by The Heartland Institute warned Kempthorne’s plan is unsupported by sound science and aimed mostly at crippling the U.S. economy. You may quote from these statements or contact the experts directly at the phone numbers and email addresses provided below.

“I do not believe the listing decision will stand, because the Endangered Species Act requires the Secretary of the Interior to make such determinations ‘solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data’ {Sec. 1533 (b)(1)(A)}, whereas Secretary Kempthorne based his decision chiefly on speculative greenhouse climate models.”

Marlo Lewis
Senior Fellow
Competitive Enterprise Institute
[email protected]

“Polar bears survived nicely during the Medieval Climate Optimum, when temperatures were much warmer than today’s.”

S. Fred Singer, Ph.D.
Science & Environmental Policy Project
Coauthor, Unstoppable Global Warming – Every 1,500 Years
[email protected]

“The leftist Center for Biological Diversity conceived abuse of the Endangered Species Act for creating in the public mind a false crisis over polar bears that will force radical social changes it has been unable to obtain through the democratic process. Author Jonah Goldberg sees this ‘crisis mechanism’ as the ‘most fascistic ingredient’ in the behavior of radical environmentalists.

“The intended outcome is the crippling of the U.S. economy through fossil fuel starvation, increased dependence on insecure energy sources, and a green path to serfdom; ensuring that the next generation of Americans must be poorer, less secure, and less free than the present one — a path leading to an Orwellian dystopia in which Science has abandoned Man for the State.”

Robert Ferguson
Science and Public Policy Institute
[email protected]

The following articles provide further background on polar bears and climate change.

Climate Science: Change and Its Impacts
A May 2006 study for the National Center for Policy Analysis, conducted by Dr. David Legates, Delaware’s state climatologist and director of the University of Delaware’s Center for Climatic Research, throws cold water on the claim that global warming threatens to cause the extinction of polar bears.

Senator Challenges Media to Report Objectively
Global warming alarmism is unsupported by the weight of scientific evidence, and proposals by environmental activists to impose a drastic global warming prevention program are unwarranted, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, stated on the Senate floor on September 26, 2006.

Gorgeous Propaganda, Frightening Truth
In a review of former vice president Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth, Heartland President Joseph L. Bast notes, “Glaciers have calved into seas for millions of years, storms obviously predate modern civilization and our emissions, and real-life polar bears know better than to head out into open water during the Arctic summer.”

Testimony: Science and Global Warming: What Do We Know?
In testimony to the Minnesota Climate Science Symposium, held in May 2007 and sponsored by state Sen. Mike Jungbauer, Heartland Institute Senior Fellow James M. Taylor notes, “Images of polar bears on icebergs are not pictures of polar bears in distress. Polar bears are capable of swimming 60 to 100 miles without interruption.”

For more information about The Heartland Institute, please contact Harriette Johnson, media relations manager, at [email protected] or 312/377-4000.