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Discussion > Soon, Baliunus, de Freitas, Etal

BBD
Sea level is irrelevant. Unless and until the Greenland ice sheet and/or Antarctica melts which even the most extreme of the realistic scenarios do not expect for several thousand years and even then only on worst case assumptions then the miserable rate of increase in sea level will continue (or not, depending on who you read).
And I know full well what this debate is about. It's about which authority on polar bears you believe. matthu and I believe one authority; you believe another. Your choice; just stop telling us we're absurd and ignorant and biased because we don't agree with you.
Why you insist on pontificating on the subject using models as your authority I cannot understand. Have you ever thought of paying more attention to evidence of people on the ground who would actually recognise a polar bear in the wild instead of from a pretty WWF publicity puff?
The latest estimate for the polar bear population is ~25000, up from around ~5000 50 years ago. If you don't believe that then go find the evidence (which does not include models) and let us know what the figure is.

Jan 6, 2012 at 3:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson

Sea level is irrelevant. Unless and until the Greenland ice sheet and/or Antarctica melts which even the most extreme of the realistic scenarios do not expect for several thousand years

This is wrong. You desperately need to do some more reading. Start with Hansen (2007) Scientific reticence and sea level rise. Don't start maligning the man; just RTFR for once instead of being lazy and miserably badly informed. It's here: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen.pdf. You want polite? Earn it.

WRT polar bears: the most authoratitive source I can find is the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group. I linked to a summary of its most recent report at Jan 2, 2012 at 9:13 PM.

Have you ever thought of paying more attention to evidence of people on the ground who would actually recognise a polar bear in the wild instead of from a pretty WWF publicity puff?

Why the f-ck do you think I'm referencing the IUCN PBSG? Do you think the scientists there 'wouldn't recognise a polar bear in the wild'? Shite and onions but you annoy me sometimes.

Polar bear population may indeed have grown since 1950 but this is not the issue. The argument is that it is now in decline. Please identify the source for your claim that PB population IS NOT DECLINING.

Jan 6, 2012 at 4:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

IUCN is not an 'authoritative source'.

Jan 6, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Shub

Balls.

Name one more so.

Jan 6, 2012 at 6:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

What's the point?
You don't accept any except your own chosen experts anyway.
So, I repeat, "the latest estimate for the polar bear population is ~25000, up from around ~5000 50 years ago. If you don't believe that then go find the evidence (which does not include models) and let us know what the figure is."
If all you can do is yell "prove it" at me and then quote IUCN which, as Shub says, is no more an authoritative source than WWF (being also an environmental pressure group) then I'll claim the match.
But since you fancy them as an authority I'll humour you:

It is not really a concern at this time
"We are looking to the future, 40 years, for polar bears to be in trouble due to habitat loss and the effect of climate change
[Andrew Derocher, IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group]
You don't like Armstrong, Green & Soon because your mindset refuses to accept that antone who ever works for the oil industry is incapable of doing proper research. They were pointing out that the method for calculating populations and their fluctuations was flawed. I happen to agree with them.
You probably don't like Mitchell Taylor either. He's only been doing hands-on research on the beast for 30 years instead of gawping at computer models. Remember, it was Derocher who refused to invite him to the PBSG meeting in Copenhagen not because he didn't know about polar bears but because his views of global warming were "unhelpful".
And directly contradicted the models' population estimates.

Jan 6, 2012 at 7:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

BBD, firstly, calm down.

Secondly, look at your post to Mike above. You are not citing any evidence directly. You are rather, asking Mike to defer to the authority of the Polar Bear Specialists group at the IUCN.

The IUCN's own website quotes has the same approach, i.e., models based off estimates from general circulation models runs, to declare the polar bear as 'vulnerable' (even they don't call it 'endangered'). How can you respond using this, to Mike's (and matthu's and mine as well) question about producing direct evidence? The very authoritative IUCN follows the very template that Mike's criticizing!

Thirdly, the IUCN is citing Amstrup, Derocher etc in its web pages. These are the very people who wrote the reports to the US Fisheries and Wildlife Services to get the polar bear listed as endangered. These are the same people whom Soon has critiqued. You are therefore attemtping to cite Persons A & B as independent evidence against criticism of persons A & B.

The IUCN is a conservation organization. It has a vested interest in conservation activity (not the same as saying 'it has a vested interest in conservation', mind you). If Exxon should be dismissed merely for having vested interests, I say, dismiss the IUCN for their vested interests. There is ample evidence to back up this approach. I would ask to you look around for Aynsley Kellow's book chapter on Pseudonovibos.

Lastly, if we lack acceptable evidence to declare endangerment, we, or more accurately you, should admit to this fact. That would be the simple end of this whole line of non-argument.

Jan 6, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

It's straightforward:

- If GAT continues to rise, polar bear populations will be stressed.

- Expert opinion is that this may be happening already.

- Contrarians do what they always do, which is attempt to deny the obvious.

- This changes nothing.

Jan 6, 2012 at 9:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

MJ

I said:

Polar bear population may indeed have grown since 1950 but this is not the issue. The argument is that it is now in decline. Please identify the source for your claim that PB population IS NOT DECLINING.

You replied:

If all you can do is yell "prove it" at me and then quote IUCN which, as Shub says, is no more an authoritative source than WWF (being also an environmental pressure group) then I'll claim the match.

Before you claim anything further, where is your evidence that PB populations are not declining?

Jan 6, 2012 at 9:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Jan 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM | matthu
In 2009 the US Fish and Wildlife service estimated in a factsheet the polar bear population to be 20,000-25,000 bears - an historical high.

Is this evidence not good enough?

Jan 7, 2012 at 7:29 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

matthu
Nowhere near good enough! It doesn't say what BBD wants to hear.
He cites IUCN and then when I actually quote Derocher back at him he simply ignores it.
The people on the ground agree that the polar bear population is at or near an all-time high. The IUCN says there "may" be a problem 40 years down the line.
This is all part of his paranoid obsession with Willie Soon. He's not even discussing climate change any more. We've got him obsessing about the possible effect of a possible temperature increase on one species which has survived and adapted for millennia because of his interpretation of the activities of one scientist!

Jan 7, 2012 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

I agree. Polar Bear populations have not suddenly diminished. All this rubbish about only his references being credible. BBD has simply exposed himself as a Polar Bear alarmist.

Jan 7, 2012 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

If you wanted to determine whether the motor car was under threat as a mode of transport, would you count the number of vehicles on the road, or the total mileage being travelled, or would you count the number of manufacturers going into decline and the number of manufacturers launching new models?

The answer seems obvious, doesn't it? Obvious that is, unless you are BBD or IUCN.

You see, if BBD or IUCN suspected that Rover or Peugeot might possibly be in decline they would excitedly announce that the whole industry was going into decline without bothering to determine first whether BMW or Volkswagen or Audi were launching new ranges.

And even if more up-to-date evidence came to the fore proving that the total number of vehicles was actually increasing - there were actually more vehicles being licensed than ever before - they would even more loudly proclaim their view that certain manufacturers were in decline and they would organise a protest march to celebrate the death of the motor car.

Amongst themselves they would still draw attention to the decline in British owned manufacturing while ignoring the fact that German and Korean manufacturers were selling more cars. And if the weather turned colder (and austerity set in) and electric motor cars were no longer selling as many as before - they would cite this as even more evidence of the demise of the motor car industry.

You see, they don't believe in survival of the fittest - they don't believe that anyone might actually adapt their product offering to attract greater sales. And they certainly don't trust licensing figures produced by the DVLA: you see the DVLA might be being partly funded by petroleum taxation.

They also don't see how it can be logical that polar bear numbers might actually be increasing even if certain sub-populations are in decline (and they certainly ignore the claim that this may be due to over-hunting).

Jan 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

> It's straightforward:
> - If GAT continues to rise,

What do you mean 'continues'? Something that's stopped can't continue.

> - Expert opinion is that this may be happening already.

_May_ be happening already?

Other expert opinion is that the population is at an all time high.

> - Contrarians do what they always do, which is attempt to deny the obvious.

Are you referring to climate 'scientists' here?

Jan 7, 2012 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

matthu
Tangential but relevant. From the 'Piledriver' thread.
First up, Barry Woods quotes from Leo Hickman in the Guardian:
(and I'd love them [that's 'us 'deniers', you understand] to explain to me why comma butterflies are flying north to Scotland, for the first time in history, as fast as their jagged little wings will take them)
I commented:
I love the idea that a butterfly expanding its range is per se evidence of global warming.
And a bit later James Evans chips in with a quote from
http://www.southwestscotland-butterflies.org.uk/species/butterflies/comma.shtml
which I'll reproduce in full

The Comma is known to have a very dynamic range in the UK. It was known in eastern Scotland in the early-19th century being found as far north as Fife and Alloa, Clackmannanshire in the east but it was absent in western Scotland. After 1850, the Comma was in decline with the last 19th century record being for Denholm, the Borders in 1868.
By the 1920s, the Comma's distribution in England had retreated to the west Midlands and then exapnded again in the 1930s reaching Lancashire & South Yorkshire by 1950 & Durham by 1976. By 1995-1999, the Comma had reached the Scottish borders with a few scattered records in Dumfries & Galloway. Since then, the Comma has spread north and west into Ayrshire, Lanarkshire and the Lothians.

I realise there is a difference between comma butterflies and polar bears but the principle is the same.
As James added "never let the facts get in the way of a good story".
The received wisdom (that's a laugh, for a start) in the panicking community is that (a) it's all to do with global warming; (b) it will all be bad; (c) creatures can't adapt.
To which the long answer is: (a) no, it isn't;(b) no, it won't; (c) yes, they can.
The short answer of course is "b*****ks!"

Jan 7, 2012 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

Thanks, Mike.

Do you think Leo Hickman had done absolutely no research about the habits of the Comma butterfly before imploring "them" to enlighten him, did he confine his research too narrowly, or was he being deliberately obtuse?

I am sure BBD will direct us in due course to an alternative authority that will link the expanding range of the Comma butterfly to global warming. (Possibly owing to wider availability of food.)

Jan 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

MJ; matthu

I'm having a hard time believing my eyes here. I have not disputed the estimate of current polar bear population size of ~ 20K - 25K. It is the one used by the IUCN.

The population has risen as a result of decades of conservation. Do you not understand even this?


But the best evidence available suggests that PB populations are starting to decline.

I asked you - repeatedly - for some evidence that this is not the case. You failed to provide any (because none exists). This bug-eyed obsession with the 20K - 25K figure is just misdirection. It is your attempt to divert attention from the fact that you are arguing against the best scientific understanding (decline) and have no case.

The longer-term prospect is that as GAT continues to rise, polar bear populations will be increasingly stressed. This is the point Derocher was making.

Mike Jackson disgracefully quoted Derocher partially, and out of context deliberately distorting his meaning (warning Mike: don't try cheap tricks like this with me - I tend to check things). Everyone agrees that climate change is the real threat. The argument was about whether or not hunting ('trade') should be curtailed now. See how the meaning of the first sentence is completely changed without the dishonest truncation:

“The threat to polar bears is not from trade. It is not really a concern at this time,” said Andrew Derocher, a member of the IUCN’s Polar Bear Specialist Group.

“We are looking to the future, 40 years, for polar bears to be in trouble due to habitat loss and the effect of climate change.”

An excerpt from TRAFFIC’s recommendations:

“The primary threat to Polar Bears is the retreat of sea-ice habitat, driven by global climate change. The global population of Polar Bears is not small and has not undergone a marked decline in the recent past; the species’ area of distribution is not restricted; and the projected rate of population decline as a result of climate change is estimated to be approximately 30% over the next 45–50 years. Therefore, the Polar Bear does not meet any of the biological criteria for inclusion in Appendix I. Trade is not a significant threat to the species.”

I'm not a 'polar bear alarmist' at all. In fact I had to research all this just to have this 'discussion'.

This also has the effect of obscuring what all this is really about, namely the knowing misrepresentation by Soon and others (Baliunas; Ball) in Dyck et al. Shilling for Big Oil, as usual. It's nauseating watching you all defend the indefensible. It is very clear that you will say anything - however stupid - in your shut-eyed denial of the facts. Which are:

- As GAT continues to rise, polar bear populations will be increasingly stressed.

- Expert opinion is that this is already happening.

Wittering on about the Eemian* does not constitute proof that it's all going to be fine and dandy a few decades down the line. I've countered this misrepresentation in detail above. But apparently even very simple explanations are proving too hard for some to follow.

*Matthu: If you had understood Dahl-Jensen's lecture even a little, you would have realised that what is emerging is a clear attribution for Eemian sea level rise. The source was not predominantly the Greenland Ice Sheet, as many have supposed. It was the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Curiously, that is exactly what Hansen has been saying for a number of years. See Hansen (2007). I suggested earlier that Mike read this, but he obviously couldn't be bothered.

Jan 7, 2012 at 6:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Your obsession with Soon really is starting to get boring, BBD.
As I said to matthu above you're obsessing about a single species and all you've done is select a handful of sources which you claim are "all the evidence" or "the best available evidence" in spite of the fact that by your own admission you know f*** all about polar bears [you had to research all this just to have this discussion, you said].
I'm really not all that interested in reading your regurgitations of web sites, no matter how expert they may be. You've told us nothing new; you're still determined that the polar bear is in decline only because (a) you've found some environmentalist web site with an axe to grind that says so (as shub says, they have a vested interest in conservation 'activity' which is not the same as an interest in conservation), and (b) you'll argue the sun goes round the earth if Soon says otherwise.

And in the circles I move in, politeness is not something you "earn"; it's the common currency of civilised discussion, something you seem to have forgottem.

Jan 7, 2012 at 7:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Jackson

I'm really not all that interested in reading your regurgitations of web sites, no matter how expert they may be.

In other words, you reject expert opinion.

On what basis? Your own, superior judgement? Astrology? Do you not see how absurd this is?

you're still determined that the polar bear is in decline only because (a) you've found some environmentalist web site with an axe to grind that says so

The IUCN PBSG isn't 'some environmentalist website'. And I have repeatedly asked you for your own sources of evidence that contradict the findings of the IUCN PBSG report. You have not done so.

See a problem here?

Jan 7, 2012 at 9:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

MJ

Nearly forgot (I'm getting too used to you ignoring the substance of my comments). Anything to say about your misrepresentation of Derocher at Jan 6, 2012 at 7:45 PM?

Jan 7, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

BBD. You refer to the report of the Polar bear specialist group (IUCN)
I've looked in detail at their recent Polar Bear population surveys, and this is a precis of their findings.

M'Clintock Channel. Population increasing.
Kane Basin. Declining. Bears being deliberately killed!
Gulf of Boothia. Stable.
Chukchi Sea. Population unknown.
Viscount Melville Sound. Population unknown. But probably decreasing due to the deliberate killing of male bears!
Lancaster Sound. Population declining due to deliberate killing of male bears!
Laptev Sea. Population unknown.
Kara Sea. Population unknown.
Barents Sea. Estimated from the air, but true population unknown. Bears being deliberately killed!
East Greenland. Population unknown.
Davis Strait. Estimated. Probably rising.
Baffin Bay. Estimated.
Foxe Basin. Estimated in the 1980's.
Southern Hudson Bay. Stable.
Western Hudson Bay. Small decline.
Norwegian Bay. Small population declining.
Southern Beaufort Sea. Estimated.

In 5 areas the population is unknown.
In 5 areas it was estimated.
In 4 areas bears were being deliberately killed. Presumably to control increasing populations?
In 1 area it was declining.
In 1 area it was stable.
In 1 area it was increasing.

So much for your in-depth Specialist Group survey showing Polar Bears are in peril.The only peril they face it would appear is from the gun!
I think this so called 'in-depth' survey you so greatly rely on for accuracy speaks for itself when you take a closer look. It is a very patchey survey, understandably so when you consider the vast areas that would need to be covered. Nowhere does it produce irrefutable evidence of the dramatic decline you talk about? Please get your facts right and read such reports properly.

Jan 7, 2012 at 11:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterGW

"warning Mike: don't try cheap tricks like this with me - I tend to check things"

Is this guy for real?

I am not wasting time with this clown anymore.

Jan 8, 2012 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

BBD - we have provided evidence that polar bear populations are at the highest level ever - in 2009.
Your evidence pre-dates this, and does not discuss population numbers. It discusses sub-populations without discussing the size of individual sub-population. You are clearly innumerate if you think this provides evidence of total population in decline.

But I guess we knew that already. Shub - I agree - best not waste time with this clown anymore.

Jan 8, 2012 at 1:15 AM | Unregistered Commentermatthu

Shub

I am not wasting time with this clown anymore.

Why? Because I caught MJ out misrepresenting Derocher?

You're always saying things like this. Do me a great favour: follow through this time.

Jan 8, 2012 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

matthu

BBD - we have provided evidence that polar bear populations are at the highest level ever - in 2009.

Your evidence pre-dates this, and does not discuss population numbers.

Wrong on both counts.

From the IUCN report l referenced:

A status table was first discussed and published at the 11th meeting of the PBSG in Copenhagen in 1993. The present table was discussed and concluded upon in Copenhagen in 2009, and some small updates on the comments was done in March 2010.

The estimate of 20K - 25K for total population is the one used by the IUCN. It is derived in part from the population studies presented in the table l linked to above. And it's out of date.

You aren't making a point, you are making a noise in an attempt to distract from the facts: all polar bear populations will decline as sea ice extent is reduced.

You are in no position to call me a clown. And you know it.

Jan 8, 2012 at 2:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

This is the IUCN's position on Pseudonovibos spiralis.

"The existence and systematic position of Pseudonovibos spiralis is currently being debated. There are undoubtedly manufactured trophies ("fakes") in circulation, but the precautionary principle requires us to assume that the species did exist and may still exist."

If the polar bear didn't exist, the IUCN would have no doubt dreamed up its existence, and 'endangered' it, purely based on the precautionary principle.

I remember reading that polar bear hunting in Russia is up because of the constant hype that the polar bear is endangered, thereby driving up the value of its pelt. (here)

Jan 8, 2012 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub