American Elephants


Sarah Palin Get Your Gun, Cus Polar Bear is IN, Baby! by American Elephant
March 11, 2010, 7:55 am
Filed under: Environment, Pop Culture | Tags: , , ,

Yes, that’s a real iceberg. Or part of one. Lagerfeld had it shipped in from Sweden for Chanel’s ready to wear show (undoubtedly at outrageous expense, creating a titanic carbon footprint) where it dutifully and fabulously melted to the patter of fashionably enthusiastic, eco-friendly golf-claps. Supermodels splashayed the arctic catwalk apparently wearing the polar bears from Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and the slaughtered remains of half the population of Endor.

The only message one could possibly draw from such a display is that if global warming is killing the polar bears anyway (it’s not), we might as well wear their carcasses.

Either that or “climate change” has just about jumped the shark.



Another word about the polar bears. by The Elephant's Child

Polar Bear Cub

Advances in DNA research point to a change in thinking about the evolution of the polar bear.

The stories revealed by ancient DNA are not all dismal.  Genetic study of polar bear fossils predicts a better fate for the endangered species.

Before 2007, it was thought that polar bears evolved from the brown bear fairly recently in the planet’s history.  But three years ago, a DNA study of polar bear fossils showed that the polar bear originated nearly 130,000 years ago.  That means the species survived the last interglacial period of global warming.

The discovery gives MacPhee hope about the polar bear’s fate in the coming decades.  “Its possible they will survive, even though they will suffer.” he said.

Well, yes, since it was much warmer during the last interglacial period, and far colder during the little ice age.  And, since polar bears are not endangered but multiplying nicely, in spite of all the environmental activist hype, we need not be too surprised that they have survived the less than one degree of warming that we have so far suffered in the current “global warming” panic.  Especially now that it has cooled.

The environmentalist hype about bears, usually accompanied by photographs of cute baby bears like the one above, has been intended to prevent drilling for oil in the arctic.  The designation of the bears as a “threatened” species is a bureaucratic misstep.  Environmentalist activists are determined to prevent the use of fossil fuels, and will go to extreme lengths to accomplish that.

Since this DNA confirmation that polar bears have survived climate both much warmer and much colder than the present misplaced panic has been available for three years, it might have affected the threatened designation, if the media had thought it worth mentioning.



Fair and Balanced, or something like that! by The Elephant's Child
November 22, 2008, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Environment, Global Warming, Religion, Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Here at American Elephants, we are passionately partisan, but we always want to be aware of the arguments of the other side.  We are determinedly fair and occasionally impartial, or at least we try.  Monica said “the Earth has a fever”, and the Elephant himself responded: “Needs more cowbell.”

(h/t: Tom Nelson)



Nature, science and politics…and oh yes, law too… by The Elephant's Child

Greg Pollowitz noted the following story in the Planet Gore blog on National Review Online. “It looks, he said, like ‘scientists’ have totally botched the count of the number of gorillas left in the world.”

(CNN) An estimated 125,000 Western lowland gorillas are living in a swamp in equatorial Africa, researchers reported Tuesday, double the number of endangered primates thought to survive worldwide.

“It’s pretty astonishing,” Hugo Rainey, one of the researchers who conducted the survey for the U.S. based Wildlife Conservation Society, told CNN Tuesday.

The last census on the species, carried out during the 1980s, estimated that there were only 100,000 of the gorillas left worldwide. Since then, the researchers estimated, the numbers had been cut in half.

WCS survey teams conducted the research in 2006 and 2007, traveling to the remote Lac Tele Community Reserve in northern Republic of Congo, a vast area of swamp forest.

This is the same organization that helped count polar bears in order to list them as ‘threatened’.

WCS scientists studied 28 years of satellite images of sea ice and contibuted key data to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey that helped inform the USFWS decision. The USFWS study says that polar bears traveling from retreating sea ice will soon have to go five times farther to reach maternity dens in Alaska, and that sea ice will no longer support polar bears in Alaska by the year 2050….

“The polar bear is the poster child of climate change and we need to do all we can to protect this species from the effect of global warming.” says Sanderson. “These preliminary results clearly show that Alaska’s polar bear population is particularly vulnerable to climate change and deserving of greater federal protection.”

Please note that what they counted is “satellite images of sea ice”, not polar bears. A little common sense should click in here. Wildlife counting is a pretty iffy endeavor and at best, amounts to educated guesses. Counting not actual bears, but past satellite images, gets even more questionable, yet such figures are used to determine lawsuits about other things such as, for example, oil drilling.

Mr. Pollowitz is back again today with an attack from the NRDC who took him to task for criticizing research, which he clarifies, and he adds some other examples. The exchange is illuminating and sheds a lot of light on the politics of nature and endangered species.



The bare facts about the bear business… by The Elephant's Child

Polar Bear

Are you confused by the whole global warming thing? Do your eyes glaze over and do you quickly turn the page at the very mention? You are not alone.

The Interior Department ruled today that the polar bear will be protected as a threatened species”. The polar bear population across the Arctic has doubled from an estimated 12,000 to 25,000 since 1960. But some scientists believe that sea ice, necessary to the bears, may diminish in future years because of global warming. This is an enormous threat to the American economy.

But there has been no global warming for the past 10 years, and there has been actual cooling for the last 5 years. What’s up with that?

“Threatened” is a term with specific meaning. It means their numbers are declining and the species is likely to become “endangered”. But if the numbers of bears are increasing, then why… Because the predictions of computer climate models said that in future years the sea ice may diminish. But…

But the predictive ability of the climate models is increasingly in question. Meteorologists will tell you that they can predict the weather with some degree of accuracy about 5 to 7 days out. Many scientists say that the climate models have no predictive ability whatsoever.

Well then, how effective is the Endangered Species Act? It’s very hard to tell. In some cases, an order to stop shooting the animal in question meant that the species increased. Many have been de-listed because it turned out that they weren’t threatened or endangered in the first place. Counting species accurately is exceedingly tricky. Do they only live here, or could they live just as well there? Is this a lone population or are there 20 more just over the next ridge? Faulty data is frequent.

The Endangered Species Act is, for many environmentalists, not a law to protect plant and animal species, but a back door means of preventing economic development of some chosen area. It is for others a mythical attachment to the idea of “a balance of nature”, which does not exist, for in nature there is only constant change.

The drive to list the polar bear as endangered is more about drilling for oil in the Arctic than it is about the bears. And the propaganda has been intense. We watched “The Golden Compass” recently, a movie made about a children’s book, a fantasy that includes ice-bears — essentially talking polar bears. To watch the movie, we had to endure a commercial from the WWF featuring a little girl pleading for other children to enlist their parents in the campaign to save the polar bear. Unbelievably crass.

So, it is back to the courts, for both sides have said they will sue.

This is a dreadfully dishonest way to deal with national conundrums. No matter how much the naive urban people dream of a world energized by the power of the sun and the wind and hydroelectric power, it’s not going to happen. At least not in the foreseeable future. And if you don’t like the price of gas, write to the Congressional Democrats — they have a lot to answer for.

In the meantime, no wonder your eyes glaze over…




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