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May 15, 2008

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Breaking News: Feds List Polar Bears As Threatened Species

From a U.S. Department of the Interior press release:

Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced on May 14, 2008 that he is accepting the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dale Hall to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The listing is based on the best available science, which shows that loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat.  This loss of habitat puts polar bears at risk of becoming endangered in the foreseeable future, the standard established by the ESA for designating a threatened species.

Wrapped up in this decision are such contentious issues as U.S. policy on global warming and oil production in polar bear habitat. To wit, from the Associated Press:

[T]he oil industry is bracing for some courtroom battles to maintain its stake in Alaska's oil-rich fields now that the Interior Department has listed polar bears as a threatened species.

About 15 percent of the nation's oil is being produced in Alaska, and soaring prices for the commodity are pushing companies to look farther and farther offshore to the floors of the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, which are frozen much of the year.

For more background on the debate leading up to this decision see the following links, and then tell us what you think about the decision.

Polar Bear Deadline Looms

Pros Vs. Cons 1

Pros Vs. Cons 2

Editorial: Not About Oil

Comments

Dan D.

This may be the 1st time in history that there is a "pre-emptive" listing, and I for one am all for it. Regardless if one believes in global warming or not, the trend is that pack ice is being reduced. Polar bears rely on that ice to hunt and breed. As the pack ice is reduced, the now healthy population will become further and further threatened. Why not try and help them now, be for the situation actually becomes bad and the efforts then will have to be greater.

As hunters and fisherman, we pride ourselves on being the ones who actually pony up and help conserve lands and habitat. While the big mouth pieces and there fringe environmental groups scream the loudest, they often do the least in action. I for one would like my children and future generations to be able to actually see and experience these awesome predators.

MPN

You're a good man Dan D.

MPN

jason k

srew all those bunny hugger environmentalists like al gore (who by the way did a good job inventing the internet) who are using global warming as an excuse to keep us from drillin oil in our own freakin country they say that drilling for oil contributes to global warmn but whats the diffrence if we drill here of if we drill in the middle east, and global warmin isn't even true because i was able to ice fish late march in iowa this year which is almost unheard of

YooperJack

As one who stands to make some serious coin off of this debacle, I wish I could feel good about it! Having aged thousands of trees over my career, I'm continually amazed by the variation in growth. Being 58 years old, I believe that 2008, so far, is in the top 5 coldest years that I've experienced. Also, even if we have global warming, and even if we could prove we caused it, why not try to solve the problem rather than using half-baked bandaids. Having said that, I believe the polar bear to be the most magnificent animal in the Western Hemisphere.
YooperJack

Ralph the Rifleman

YooperJack-
I agree with you on this being a possible bandaid solution, but at least it is a step in the responsible direction, I believe. Further,it will be interesting to see how Nature deals with this situation.
Remember the apparent Grizzly/Polar Bear crossbreed shot not to long ago? Maybe this animal will "evolve" into a land carnivor?

YooperJack

RTR:
I think I'm more concerned about all we don't know. I do know that I shoveled a lot more snow last winter and everyone's complaining because brook trout aren't biting (too cold). Ice was excellent last winter because of temps.

BTW, weren't you hunting up by Bergland somewhere? Boy, nice bucks in that area!
YooperJack

William

All I can say is if we don't find a solution to this problem those polar bears are going to be looking for new habitable territories with a food supply...someone's back yard. Take care of the problem now the best we can to prevent this so everyone stays on the right side of the tracks.

SilverArrow

Once again Big Oil can think and do nothing but fight tooth and nail for the status quo. At this point we should be looking, seriously, at really reducing US consumption not just finding ever more beautiful places to distroy!

That the Bush Administration took this step is rather amazing in itself! Let's hope they have the courage to stay the course!

AS for global warming or Al Gore inventing the Internet; don't believe all you read or hear!
SA

Ralph the Rifleman

YooperJ-
It seems hear in Michigan we exceeded snow fall amounts, but the average temp was .8 degrees warmer? That just doesn't seem significant to me, but warmer is warmer!
Yes, the Bucks are big in Bergland, but they had the "doe patrol" out on me so I didn't get a shot at a decent buck last year.
I will be hunting in the lower this yea;I received an invite to hunt in the Bad Axe area they need some doe taken so it's going to be a fill the freezer tag this year, and hopefully a buck, too.
I haven't shot a doe since leaving ND in 1988!

Jon

Guys,
What do you think is the more compelling evidence for or against global warming, that you got to go ice fishing, that the brook trout aren't biting, or the documented, incontrovertable fact that sea ice is disappearing at a rate so alarming that the US Geological Survey predicts that polar bears could be gone by 2050! Geesh!

Jon

Guys,
What do you think is the more compelling evidence for or against global warming, that you got to go ice fishing, that the brook trout aren't biting, or the documented, incontrovertable fact that sea ice is disappearing at a rate so alarming that the US Geological Survey predicts that polar bears could be gone by 2050?! Geesh!

Jon

Sorry for the double-post.

Ricky

It is ridiculous for us to try to drill our way out of the energy crisis. Oil exploration technology is and has long been astoundingly sophisticated and capable, yet discoveries peaked 30 years ago. If you turned the state of Alaska upside-down, the resulting oil wouldn't put the tiniest dent in our own demand--for which much of it wouldn't be used anyway.
We have about sucked the earth dry of a limited, non-renewable resource. The oil age is about finished, and if we don't get serious very quickly about takling the hugely daunting challenge of working out a viable, cheap alternative, we will be just about finished right along with it.

Richard

It is ridiculous for us to try to drill our way out of the energy crisis. Oil exploration technology is and has long been astoundingly sophisticated and capable, yet discoveries peaked 30 years ago. If you turned the state of Alaska upside-down, the resulting oil wouldn't put the tiniest dent in our own demand--for which much of it wouldn't be used anyway.
We have about sucked the earth dry of a limited, non-renewable resource. The oil age is about finished, and if we don't get serious very quickly about tackling the hugely daunting challenge of working out a viable, cheap alternative, we will be just about finished right along with it.

Mike Diehl

All the oil in ANWR and natural gas in Colorado and Wyoming isn't going to make a dent in fossil fuel prices. All that can be achieved is to screw over good public lands, line a few suits' pockets, and watch as the taxpayer foots the bill for the cleanup.

We need to repeal entirely the GMA of 1872. We also need to take all of the subsidies and tax breaks directed towards the extraction industries and divert them to solar and wind power, and nukes.

YooperJack

Hey guys, where can I buy a 4WD pickup with a fuel cell powerplant? Maybe I shouldn't go to work? Its the economy! This country, for the foreseeable future, runs on oil. Until we develop nuclear plants to replace the fuel oil generated electricity, we're stuck with what we've got. All I hear out of Washington D.C. is talk. Nothing is really going on. We talk about global warming. Can we prove that we're causing it?
As a member of the scientific community, I get real scared when scientists say that anyone who doesn't accept my dogma should be kicked out of the club.
YooperJack

Bob

Yooper,
You can't find a 4wd pickup with a fuel cell powerplant, and that's the problem. At the moment, we are stuck with the options we have (which, unless a compact-car is suitable for your needs) aren't many.

Let's ignore the whole global warming issue entirely here for a second, and focus more on the fact that it costs nearly twice as much to fill our fuel tanks as it did two years ago. Our government has left us in a situation where we have no energy alternatives and are now forced to pay any prices OPEC levies on us.

It's time for the government to start large-scale rewards and incentives towards innovation before an already bad situation becomes ten times worse.

Jimmy

Couple things to say. First i amg lad the polar bear has been listed as a threatened species. At the rate of the crisis we are in they could become exctinct much sooner than people realize. Global warming is real there is simply no question about it. Whether humans are causing it or not is questionable. The earth has natural cooling and warming cycles, but recently it has become much warmer. As for fuel i agree that we are coming out of the oil age, we simply are running out of the natural resource, it cant be replenished. We need to find a new source of fuel, wether it be hydrogen, corn, praire grass, or nuclear something needs to happen. As long as fuel is continued to be pumped prices will continue to rise and people will pay it no matter what we need to drive.

William

What is proven about global warming is that rising Co2 levels are responsible for the current warming trend [excluding previous natural climatic warming trends]. This is fact. The debate is whether or not humans are responsible for current levels of Co2 in our atmosphere. I don't find this hard to figure out in a world run on oil and Co2 emissions.

YooperJack

Okay, I'm finally getting an idea where this is going. Oil and gas, in the ground is "carbon Trapped". Trees growing are trapping carbon. Trees being burned are releasing carbon. Trees dying are releasing carbon. If thats the truth, why would we ever allow a forest fire? Why would we ever allow trees to go unharvested? We will anyway, and that to some extent, is a very good thing. Many species in the food chain depend on dead, down and rotting wood for their survival.

It just seems to me that we're trying to solve 100 per cent of a problem, that we might or might not have, with 10 per cent (or maybe 1 per cent) of the necessary knowledge.
YooperJack

In the past few milenium, the earths drastic cooling and warming cycles have been caused by the earths axis wobble. As it wobbles more, the orbit around the Sun becomes more eliptical and the increased distance, on the long sides has lessened the amount of energy the earth recieves. We are actually in a cooling period now and have been so for the last 10 years or so. All of the planet wide info that we have to work with dates all the way back to 1979 or so when the first weather satelites started going up. Man plans......God laughs.

Mike Diehl

None of the preceding post is remotely factually correct. If anyone wants to know how orbital mechanics affect cooling cycles, search "Milankovitch cycles" -- wikipedia has a decent enough article. Anyhow, they're not millennium-scale events. Their periodicity is much longer. Nor does "axial wobbling" have much to do with anything.




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