Sunday, February 17, 2008

Report from Greenland: Too Much Ice Causing Polar Bears to go hungry so they are seeking food in the towns

Up to six bears were seen in the vicinity of Sisimiut - some quite close to the city. How many bears which are actually approaching Sisimiut has not been confirmed. But Maria Aarup has no doubt that on Tuesday she saw several bears near Amerloq Fjord. Fishermen have also seen a number of bears on the small islands from their trawlers as they battled ice in the harbour. Thursday morning bears were also seen at the airport and several people have seen bear tracks near the town dump.

Citizens are asked to report any bears they see to the police. If they stand in close proximity of a bear, are seriously threatened or seen a bear attack a person, they have the right to shoot. Petersen encouraged people to be careful though. Bears which are hungry lose their natural shyness. They usually stay in the water and hunt seals, but if they are hungry they come ashore and consume anything they can find.


More information in the Danish-language version here. In an email, Svend Erik Hendriksen, a certified weather observer in the Kangerlussuaq Greenland MET office, summarizes it as follows:

"Several polar bears (at least 6) located close to Sisimiut town on the West coast...To much sea ice, so they are very hungry..... Al Gore says the polar bear need more ice to survive....Now we have a lot of ice, but the polar bears are starving and find their food at the garbage dumps in towns. It's also influenced the local community, polar bear alerts keep kids away from the schools and so on.... The first one was shot at February 1st.

And here's more on what's happening in Greenland weatherwise

The ice between Canada and southwestern Greenland has reached its highest level in 15 years. Minus 30 degrees Celsius. That's how cold it's been in large parts of western Greenland where the population has been bundling up in hats and scarves. At the same time, Denmark's Meteorological Institute states that the ice between Canada and southwest Greenland right now has reached its greatest extent in 15 years.

'Satellite pictures show that the ice expansion has extended farther south this year. In fact, it's a bit past the Nuuk area. We have to go back 15 years to find ice expansion so far south. On the eastern coast it hasn't been colder than normal, but there has been a good amount of snow.'

But how do these new reports fit in with continual reports that ice in the Arctic Ocean has been melting at a record rate due to increasing temperatures? And isn't global warming at the top of the political agenda these years? If it's up to meteorologists from Denmark's Meteorological Institute, there is not anything inherently contradictory that extreme cold is replaced by higher temperatures than average. Or that melting sea ice occasionally is replaced by expanding ice sheets.


Polar Bears Are The Wrong Target Say Inuit

Canadian Inuit are opposing vigorous lobbying efforts to get the polar bear listed as "threatened" under the American Endangered Species Act. The US government has been considering the action since 2006. Now three conservation groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace are threatening to sue the US government to get it to proceed with the listing.

Two organizations that represent Inuit in Canada are disagreeing with the tactic of using the polar bear to try to force the American government to take action on climate change. Duane Smith, the president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada) says, "I don't see how listing it as threatened will complement the sustainability of the population. It is climate change that is the problem, not the sustainable hunting of polar bears."

Some polar bears in Canada are currently hunted by American hunters, who pay well for the experience. The hunt brings more than one and half million dollars a year into small Inuit communities in the territory of Nunavut. The listing of polar bears would likely threaten that hunt, and the money it brings into the communities.

"Even with the sport hunts we use dog teams, a portion of tags also go toward subsistence harvesting, and we ensure that all the meat and other parts of the Polar Bear are fully utilized," says Smith. "Our hunters and guides benefit economically and we are able to continue with our culture, enjoy the benefits of what we use, and ensure that this is done in a responsible and sustainable manner."

At the moment, Inuit are convinced that polar bears are being hunted at sustainable levels. Whether or not that level of hunting will still be sustainable in the future, after the effects of climate change become more severe, remains to be seen.

The bottom line is that stopping people from hunting polar bears now will not protect populations of polar bears in the future. Taking action on climate change now, on the other hand, will protect populations of polar bears in the future.


NYT deception again

An NYT reporter recently had some long conversations with climate scientist Dr. Albert Arking and in the resultant article presented the scientist as a Warmist. Below is how the scientist himself describes his views -- views that are nowhere mentioned in the NYT article:

My own views at the time (expressed in an Op-Ed piece in the NY Times in 1991 and in a Senate Committee hearing chaired by Al Gore) was that increasing greenhouse gases (GHG) would contribute to climate warming, but other factors (e.g., solar variability) are also at play. Furthermore, our understanding of feedbacks was too limited to let us predict changes in response to external forcing by anything better than a factor of 3.

Since then, of course, global temperatures have continued to go up, and research has provided some insight into the relative roles of solar and GHG forcing. I had given Jastrow copies of recent papers that tried to estimate how much of past temperature change can be attributed to solar variations and how much to GHG. I tried to convince him that if the earth can respond to solar variations, then basic physics requires that it also respond to GHG variations---one controls input energy, the other output. Dr. Jastrow never considered GHG to be a predominant factor, past or present, but he did agree that GHG would contribute to warming, pointing to it as possibly beneficial if solar luminosity should decrease, as it most likely did at times in the past.

I do have strong views about our use of fossil fuels, but not because of the scary scenarios that people like Al Gore publicize. (Most of that stuff---e.g., half of Florida disappearing, etc.---is plain nonsense, and he never mentions that more people die from cold than heat, that we could save more polar bears by restricting hunting than by stopping global warming, etc.) We should cut down on fossil fuels because it makes us and the rest of the world dependent on hostile countries, and it is a likely a source of funding for terrorism. Furthermore, fossil fuels, especially crude oil, will continue to rise in price because reserves are finite and demand for energy is increasing. However, the best way to lessen dependence on fossil fuels in the long run---and it is the long run that counts, because global warming is a gradual process---is to develop new technology, not by forcing the American public to pay other countries to burn the fuel for them. The Kyoto plan would take away dollars from devloped [sic] countries that could otherwise be used to fund new technology. Some policy decisions that are made in haste---e.g., subsidizing and mandating use of ethanol---can have bad consequences for the economy, and could actually add to GHG emissions, the opposite of the intended effect.

To summarize, I believe the global warming we have experienced in the last few decades is real, and most likely due to increasing GHG, but I am skeptical about outlandish claims that have little or no scientific basis. (Ocean levels rose about 8 inches in the last century, and are likely to rise about 12 inches in the present century, but that is small commpared [sic] to the 5-10 feet rise and fall of tides that occurs daily; adding 12 inches to dikes over a century is not difficult.) But I believe it important for our economy and security to develop new technology---both new sources of energy and new techniques for distributing and using energy more efficiently.

Much more here

General Motors executive Lutz calls global warming concerns 'total crock of sh**'

For putting up the quote below I will no doubt be henceforth described by Greenies as "in the pay" of General Motors

Bob Lutz, General Motors' vice chairman and chief car guru, says what really turns him on is "doing the unexpected" --acting "contrary to the conventional wisdom, forcing people to re-think their beliefs." Maybe that's why Lutz, who made his name developing behemoths like the V-10 Dodge Viper, is so sold on the fuel-efficient new Chevrolet Volt, which will run on a lithium-ion battery and could go on sale by 2010. "The Volt thrills me because it's the last thing anybody expected from GM," the ex-Marine said at a private lunch in Arlington today.

If you're into cars or the car business, jump to read more of Lutz's contrarian beliefs. During a closed-door session with several journalists at the Cacharel restaurant, Lutz declared that:

-Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota "make no economic sense," because their price will never come down, and diesel autos like those touted by Chrysler are also uneconomic. The only place in Europe that diesel-driven cars are big, he said, is where diesel fuel is half the cost of regular gasoline; in most places there, the costs are comparable and diesel has little market penetration.

- Global warming is a "total crock of ****." Then he added: "I'm a skeptic, not a denier. Having said that, my opinion doesn't matter. (With the battery-driven Volt), "I'm motivated more by the desire to replace imported oil than by the CO2 (argument)."

- With more and more good-quality cars on the market these days, "you've got to look at the business artistically, too. Part of our business is creating blockbusters-just like the movie business-yet we never think of ourselves that way. A car is an exciting mobile sculpture that you want to own, drive and be seen in. That's why (auto-industry) comeback stories are always design-driven." One GM car that fills that bill, he said, is Cadillac's CTS.

- The best car dealers will thrive even in a sluggish economy. "They've got to isolate themselves from the economic forecasts," Lutz said, "and say, `I make my own prosperity.' "

Tonight, Lutz will jawbone privately with area GM dealers about these and other matters at a local restaurant where steak will be served.


Britain: Expensive new home for four newts

Cheshire County Council is calling for a review of EU legislation after being forced to spend o60,000 to move four newts from a school development site. Great crested newts are an endangered species and are protected by EU law. When four were found on land at Fallibroome High School, Macclesfield, they had to be trapped, moved and have a new pond built to house them.

Councillor Barrie Hardern called the 60,000 pounds cost of the scheme before the school could build "ludicrous".

When the amphibians were found on the site where the school wanted to build new sports facilities and an extension a costly mitigation exercise had to be undertaken which meant a new habitat had to be built.

Natural England, the government body charged with protecting the newts said it is important to look after every colony no matter how small. But Mr Harden said: "I find it extraordinary that the law requires public money to be spent at such a ludicrous level."



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