Sunday, September 14, 2008

Politics: Polar Bears and Sarah Palin

Polar Bears are getting ink and video lately. The ink and video use the bear as a prop to argue charge Alaska Gov. and Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin with moral turpitude because Palin has objected to naming the bear a threatened species. Note a bit of irony. Palin is bad because of resisting an action of the Bush administration, which long ago was certified as utterly evil by enviros.
Today’s Albuquerque Journal used a bear photo on page B8 to illustrate an article headlined, “McCain Risks Pro-Environment Record.” Palin was mentioned in the caption. On Thursday of last week the BBC used a bear to illustrate a story about additional oil drilling off the Alaska coast.
An alternate argument exists, one that doesn’t roll over for the, oh, so politically correct conventional wisdom. Danish economist Bjorn Lomborg spends five of the first six pages of his 2007 book, “Cool It,” on polar bears. He says, in summary, “The real story of the polar bear is instructive. In many ways, this tale encapsulates the broader problem with the climate change concern: once you look closely at the supporting data, the narrative falls apart.”
The polar bear population has increased five-fold—to 25,000— in the past 40 years, Lomborg says. Today, one or two of the 20 subpopulations are declining, two are increasing and the rest are stable.
Lomborg doesn’t just assert this stuff. Those five bear pages come with 24 footnotes citing sources. “Cool It” comes with 130 pages listing the literature.
In this weekend’s Wall Street Journal, September 13-14, Lomborg takes apart the “over hyped rhetoric” of Thomas Friedman’s new book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded.” Before seriously starting the dismantling, Lomborg specifies, “Let’s be clear. Global warming is real and man-made.” The review closes with, “While occasionally interesting, ‘Hot, Flat and Crowded’ remains a one-sided plea for an incorrect analysis.”

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