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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Polar Bear Express

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EUROPE
January 29, 2008

Global warming is becoming a new unified field theory for environmentalists, a crisis so urgent and profound that it even justifies leaping the democratic process. Consider the political campaign to prod the Bush Administration to list the polar bear as an endangered species -- even though many proponents admit it isn't endangered at all.

This game began with a 2005 lawsuit against the U.S. Interior Department from pressure groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council. Their demand was that the polar bear be designated as "threatened" -- that is, at risk for extinction in the foreseeable future -- under the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

No one disputes that higher temperatures in the bear's Arctic habitat have disrupted the sea ice that bears use to catch food and breed. The problem is that polar bear populations have been rising over the last four decades, and may now be at a historic high. This is the result of conservation management, including international agreements on trophy hunting and federal safeguards like the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The warmists say current numbers count for little because climate-change models anticipate even more Arctic melting. But these projections are speculative, and tend to underestimate the dynamism of the environment. Animals adapt to changing conditions, which might mean a shift in population patterns to areas where pack ice is more robust year-round. And the reduction in ice cover may be the result of cyclical wind circulation patterns and natural variability, not exclusively warming trends.

The scientific questions are complex -- and that ought to rule out premature, simplistic answers. Naturally, it's having the opposite effect. The more honest activists basically concede that a listing is a P.R. ploy to "raise awareness," or achieve other ends, or something.

Even if the Interior Department does rule in favor (a decision is expected in the next few weeks), it's not clear how the Endangered Species Act could help. Usually its remedies involve "critical habitat," which means prohibiting the development or even use of much private land to protect a species, like the spotted owl. But there's no way to designate the same for disappearing sea ice; and besides, all the existing protections of polar bear habitat would still apply, and couldn't be extended much further anyway.

The logical -- and dangerous -- leap here is that the greens are attempting to rewrite the Endangered Species Act without actual legislation. If the "iconic" polar bear is classified as threatened, then their gambit could lead to all sorts of regulatory mischief. Never mind that even drastic world-wide reductions in carbon emissions over the next decade or so wouldn't have the slightest effect on ice melt.

But it's hard to imagine any precautions that would satisfy the greens, short of a total ban on offshore drilling. No doubt that will be confirmed when all this ends up in court, but the least the Bush Administration can do now is avoid handing additional ammunition to the litigants.

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My Rant

The claim that climate change is direct result of man's energy consumption is simply unproven and politically motivated. While they propound lies that certain lightbulbs or cars will destroy the earth and raise ocean levels as much as 20 feet within the next century, fascists, like Al Gore, fly around in their Gulfstream jets and live in homes that use 22 times the energy of an average American's home! Their propaganda is outrageous and potentially catastrophic for the economies of United States, the developed world and developing world.

The proof of global warming or man's influence on climate change is not settled science. Just consider the source of the big lie: the proselytizing hypocritical high priest of the pagan environmental religion Al Gore or the other Kool-Aid drinking climateers from the left such as Learjet liberals, Hollywood high school drop-outs, billonaire elitists, the left-leaning mainstream media, the United Nations, academia, environmental radicals, socialists, other anti-capitalists and so called "researchers", "experts" and/or "scientists" whose paychecks depend upon the apparent existence of the "issue".

United States energy conservation and independence is a worthy goal that should be supported by Republicans, the Democrat Party, true Democrats, Independents and environmentalists. Energy independence is a major national security concern. However, lying to our people, implementing the cap & trade boondoggle which will crush our economy or doing anything that will cause the United States to transfer an portion of its sovereignty to the United Nations is idiotic. Not in my name!