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« Greens trashing the environment part 625 | Main | Casual smears at RTCC »

Minority Report and the polar bears

Polar Bears International has launched its programme to help the recovery of the thriving population of the said beasts. In their post, the team have helpfully explained some of the problems they faced:

...our team faced a unique task: to create a recovery or management plan for a species whose primary threat is largely in the future, not the past.

I can see how that would be a problem. It's rather like something out of Minority Report, but instead of precrimes solved by precogs we will have premelts dealt with by prethinkers.

So I wonder how exactly the team are going to help polar bears "recover" from a disaster that has yet to befall them? Well first of all there is:

education and outreach

I guess this involves the preicers teaching the icebergs not to melt and "reaching out" to the glaciers and stuff like that. There is also going to be some...

harvest management


conflict reduction

The latter presumably involving the prethinkers identifying which polar bears are going to get into fights over mating rights and so on and separating them before they've even fronted up to each other.

It's science fiction happening as fact before our very eyes.

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Reader Comments (38)

I sincerely hope they all go up north & hug a polar bear, see how many are left after the meatfest is over!

Jul 16, 2015 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"Harvest management" may refer to the legal hunting of bears by the native population. Ask the Inuit if there's a lack of bears ...

Jul 16, 2015 at 4:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterace

Why? That's the 64 million dollar question :-)
As Susan Crockford from Polar Bear Science notes recently -
"So, a fifty-fifty chance of a reduced population (not specified by how much) within 10 years. Not extinction. But they still need more than $64 million over the next five years to keep an eye on the problem."
That's some money! And maybe the answer.

Jul 16, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrady

Do we have an estimate of polar bear numbers before 1980, and now?

The amount of money raised, ostensibly to save polar bears, could then be calculated on a cost per bear basis.

As there is no evidence that anything has actually been done to actually "save" a single polar (apart from not shooting them), does this prove that the cost of saving polar bears really has been vast, or that it has been a complete waste of money?

Jul 16, 2015 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

There are 500 or so polar bear licenses issued annually in Canada but it changes a bit from year to year. That's a lot fewer than used to be issued, and that is the main reason for the population rebound.
On top,of the licensed kills, there are a number of "defense" kills by the inuit.
Since it is a good source of revenue for the inuit, perhaps Polar Bear International can turn that $64 million over to the inuit for not shooting them and thereby greatly save future bears and help the locals at the same time?

Jul 16, 2015 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermikegeo

If polar bear numbers continue to grow, and they spread south, will their fur turn brown, or will they have to roll about in Canadian or Russian mud to camouflage themselves?

To Environmentalists, this would be a disaster. How will they raise money?

Jul 16, 2015 at 5:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I guess this involves the pre-icers teaching the icebergs not to melt and "reaching out" to the glaciers and stuff like that.

Bish, that's just silly - obviously they intend to teach the polar bears to not depend on ice so much.

Jul 16, 2015 at 5:54 PM | Registered Commentersteve ta

steve ta, that is just silly. Everyone knows that polar bears explode if you serve them a G&T without ice. We need icemakers designed to work in freezing temperatures.

Jul 16, 2015 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Typical green dictation. They didn't consult anybody involved. I suggest that all committees involved in this proposal should include at least one polar bear.

Jul 16, 2015 at 6:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGraeme No.3

GC, icemakers designed to work in freezing temperatures will be net heat exporters, so make it worse!

Jul 16, 2015 at 6:41 PM | Registered Commentersteve ta

Um... heavy spring ice seems to cause the most problems for polar bears, so maybe they'll help the polar bears by flying around the world and emit as much CO2 as they can. They think that will melt ice, and thin ice is good for the bears.

Jul 16, 2015 at 6:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnonyMoose

steve ta, well if that was too silly, I'm a climate scientist after all. The Ministry of Silly Climate Science welcomes everybody.

Jul 16, 2015 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The BBC strikes back...

Polar bears fail to adapt to lack of food in warmer Arctic
By Matt McGrath
Environment correspondent, BBC News

Yet Polar Bears didn't go extinct when it was probably warmer as recently as a few hundred years ago, and certainly warmer a few thousand years ago. Give me strength.

And this on the same day when the BBC posted an article

"Future of the BBC: Government to ask 'hard questions'".

Jul 16, 2015 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Is asking the BBC hard questions the same as animal cruelty?

Jul 16, 2015 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Round them all up and stick them in a little zoo.

Jul 16, 2015 at 9:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

I loved the comments on their site. Talk about the Disney Effect.

I posted my own comment suggesting they spend some of the $64 million flying people up to the bears under a program called Hug a Polar Bear. I'm sure the bears would appreciate the new food supply.

Jul 16, 2015 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

Sent Matt McGrath at the Beeb this

He must have missed this one since he has been away
Anyone fancy joining a sweepstake for how many Hot Blogs will be coming out on the BBC leading up to the Paris Climate Coven

Jul 16, 2015 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterBLACK PEARL

BLACK PEARL, the forthcoming climate disaster in Paris, is a fantastic opportunity for the BBC to demonstrate why it should lose taxpayer funding. Sadly, they are rising to the challenge. The Charge of the Light Brigade, Custer's Last Stand, and The Alamo, all rolled into one. They are going to go down bleating it was not their fault.

Jul 16, 2015 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Actually, Bish, this is a US Fish and Wildlife management plan but I'm sure that PBI folks love it too.

As someone has already thoughtfully posted the link to my take on this, the money involved - especially to biologists and modellers - is rather mind-boggling.

As to the newest story, here is my take on it:

In short, I'm not impressed. I said:
The authors boldly state that “sea-ice loss increasingly limits spring and summer hunting opportunities in parts of their range.”

However, the two papers they cite (Stirling and Derocher 2012; Meier et al. 2014) discuss summer ice losses only.

Studies that include spring ice predictions show minimal losses are expected in future decades, contradicting their claim.

Significantly, the authors admit that bears eat little during the summer whether they are on the sea ice or onshore (as I have pointed out previously (see Crockford 2015: “The Arctic Fallacy”), and have not demonstrated that future summer ice declines are expected to impinge on either spring or fall seal hunting opportunities.

If polar bears normally eat little in summer, how can predicted summer sea ice declines in the future have a meaningfully negative impact on future health or survival?

It's in SCIENCE, however, which means it's getting heavy press. McNutt being helpful again, as SCIENCE editor?


Jul 16, 2015 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan Crockford

Thank you Susan Crockford!

Unfortunately green environmentalists are going to interpret your carefully considered science , to mean that polar bear bears are going to die out, due to their unhealthy binge eating, followed by crash diets to get themselves leaner and fitter, for sunbathing bikini shoots in the summer sun.

Overweight polar bears are not going to get modeling assignments for centrefold pullouts, in PolarBear Monthly, and other rags peddling soft climate science porn to the gullible masses. This is very lucrative work for the photographers, judging by the number of times the same photos keep appearing. None of the magazine photo editors are interested in overweight polar bears, so it is not surprising they hide away, and stuff themselves. That's the way life goes on for non photogenic polar bears, I suppose

Jul 16, 2015 at 11:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

"icemakers designed to work in freezing temperatures will be net heat exporters, so make it worse!" --steve ta

Ah, but warm causes cold, so they will make it better.

"Is asking the BBC hard questions the same as animal cruelty?" --michael hart

It's considered in the same category as waterboarding. By the BBC.

"Round them all up and stick them in a little zoo." --Alan Reed

You'd need quite a large zoo, actually. There are more than 20,000 of the blighters.

Jul 16, 2015 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

jorgekafkazar, I didn't know that the BBC employed 20, 000 people that required putting in a zoo.

Jul 17, 2015 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


"You'd need quite a large zoo, actually. There are more than 20,000 of the blighters."

But as all are of the same ilk only one enclosure would be required. The enclosure then just needs an appropriate designation - "This animal is self destructive, endangered and not likely to survive beyond the next decade."

Jul 17, 2015 at 1:04 AM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Yes, as stated by others above, the obvious demand should be --- you have raised all this money in the past, so show us the books that explain how it was spent. Saving polar bears is just a variation on a charity scam.

Eugene WR Gallun

Jul 17, 2015 at 1:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterEugene WR Gallun

Everyone knows that 97% of bears are on board and ready to dance in sync for the "cause". The concern is about containing the 3% denier bears screwing up the promos.

Jul 17, 2015 at 2:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

If they are really...and I mean really, really serious about saving the polar bears once and for all; these genius scientists who have developed this so called ‘recovery or management plan’ have not created a fool proof plan and this plan of theirs will not work. I have the solution.
The $64 million dollars of grant money that they seek needs to be used to build a big all meat supermarket. We then have it stocked with seal meat, other sea creatures and perhaps even some polar bear meat delicacies (bison, beef, chicken, dumb climate scientists, etc). This way the true polar bear connoisseurs, be they male or female, can have an opportunity in experiencing other meats instead of that same old, same old, what’s for dinner Alice…on no not seal meat again.
And in order to keep this supermarket stocked, the remaining grant money (of the initial $64 million) and all future grant money will be used perpetually to re-stock this supermarket. Knowing how ‘green piece’ have been lamenting the coming demise of the polar bears, they will gladly contribute several millions each year in funds to keep this supermarket stocked (they do have money to burn and they want to really, really save the polar bears).
If this is done, the polar bears will never, ever have to worry about ice bergs melting again.

There! Problem solved once and for all!

Jul 17, 2015 at 4:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeterK

With all due respect to Susan Crockford and her great work but I am so sick of hearing about the viscous, stinking, savage, f'ing polar bears that their extinction cannot come soon enough for me.

Jul 17, 2015 at 6:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNoFixedAddress

Life is quite tough in the snows so our furry friends have to help each other. Here's a rolly polly bear licking a wounded seal.

Jul 17, 2015 at 8:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Dear Susan Crockford,

If polar bears normally eat little in summer, how can predicted summer sea ice declines in the future have a meaningfully negative impact on future health or survival?

It's in SCIENCE, however, which means it's getting heavy press.

It looks more like Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome: a modern science related mental state.

Jul 17, 2015 at 8:47 AM | Unregistered Commenteroebele bruinsma

"...our team faced a unique task: to create a recovery or management plan for a species whose primary threat is largely in the future, not the past."

Whilst OUR team faces a unique task, that of dealing with a large swathe of humanity who seem to have their heads entrenched in their fundaments...

Jul 17, 2015 at 11:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

The alarmists have learned that if you only talk about the future no one can do that annoying sceptic thing of pointing out that your application for climate gravy train money is not supported by actual facts.

Jul 17, 2015 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW


Polar bears are shot in only one area of Canada, Churchill on Hudson Bay. The bears are shot only after they try to deport them miles away. Those that return are shot as problem animals.

There are an estimated 30,000 bears in known populations (USA and Canada, Norway and Greenland) not including Russia and Siberia. Those areas do not advertise any counting as far as I know.

Just some info from WUWT.

Jul 17, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Marshall


I didn't know polar bears were "viscous". Is this why they are threatened by Big Oil?

Jul 17, 2015 at 4:46 PM | Unregistered Commenterjolly farmer

John Marshal

Not according to this?


Jul 17, 2015 at 10:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

John Marshal

Not according to this?


Jul 17, 2015 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Oooh! Can I be "Director of Polar Bear Mating Operations"?

Jul 18, 2015 at 7:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

I am puzzled. I thought Polar bears hibernated in Winter when the Arctic ice is continuous from Canada to Siberia. In Spring the ice melts ( some, not all). Polar bears eat seals (mostly). Polar bears are good swimmers, but seals are better, so seals can catch fish, which bears can't, and can escape bears in the water. Seals and bears spend time on land especially for mating and breeding. Bears are better than seals on land (or ice flows) and can and do eat them if they catch them out of water. The less ice there is the more seals will have to come ashore and the more the dinner odds improve for Bears.
So what"s the problem for Bears?

Jul 19, 2015 at 6:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Macray

"we will have premelts dealt with by prethinkers."
"we will have premelts dealt with by preschoolers"
There, think I've fixed it.

Jul 29, 2015 at 5:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterClunking Fist

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