06/07/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Polar Bear Listing Defended

Andrew Revkin just posted a nice link to a recent response by one of the world's foremost polar bear experts to an attack on global-warming based predictions of polar bear declines. In a related story, Andrew also recently wrote about a study on the capacity of polar bears to adapt to global warming by shifting their foraging from seals to snow goose eggs during extended ice-free summers. Key graphs: Competition could lead to a "tragedy of the commons" situation (Rankin et al 2007), where individual self-interests degrade a resource the whole group could use. Both Madsen et al (1998) and Drent and Prop (2008) indicate that polar bear depredation on Svalbard is sufficient that it is impacting the resident goose populations. 2

A widely cited critique of the climate and polar bear research underpinning last year's federal listing of polar bears as threatened with extinction has itself been critiqued. The new paper, "Rebuttal of Polar Bear Population Forecasts: A Public-Policy Forecasting Audit" is available online (behind a subscription wall for now) in Interfaces, the same journal that published the original work. 1
  1. Polar Bear Listing Defended (Dot Earth (NYT))
  2. Polar Bear News (NRDC)

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