Surprise, surprise!  Climate skeptics don't think polar bears are doomed!

That is the conclusion below in a new paper by the usual suspects. They write as if that identifies skeptics as fools or crooks.  But to support that allegation, they would have to show that skeptics are wrong.  So what are their grounds for believing that skeptics are wrong about the bears?  It is just the usual feeble reliance on "consensus".  I quote from the body of their paper:

"Science-based blogs overwhelmingly used the frame of established scientific certainties and supported arguments with the published literature affirming that warming is rapidly reducing seasonal Arctic sea-ice extent and threatening the mid- to longer-term survival of polar bears"

But the consensus has come serious under challenge, most notably from the writings of specialist Arctic biologist Susan Crockford.  So they do their best to discredit her.  In a carefully-worded statement they say:

"Crockford has neither conducted any original research nor published any articles in the peer-reviewed literature on polar bears"

The part about publication is actually true but she has published extensively in the academic journals on Arctic biology generally.  And there is no doubt that any attempt by her to get anything into the academic journals that questioned the Greenie consensus would fail.  She has however published her observations extensively elsewhere -- in sources not influenced by Greenie censorship.

There are two problems with their attack on Crockford.  The most amusing is that they offer NO detailed refutation of her claims.  They attack her as a person, not her facts.  That is of course the old informal fallacy known in logic as the "ad hominem" fallacy.  And as such it has no scholarly standing whatsoever.

The second problem is that they give the impression that she is a lone dissenting voice.  She is not.  Almost everybody who visits polar bear territory remarks on the frequency of the bears in the places concerned.  And it's not only tourists who see lots of bears.   The International Union for the Conservation of Nature estimated in 1966 that there were 10,000 polar bears in the world; in 2006, the same source estimated that the population had risen to 20,000-25,000 bears.

And how about an excerpt from the Scientific Working Group to the Canada-Greenland Joint Commission on Polar Bear of 2016:

"The genetic mark-recapture assessment of the BB subpopulation resulted in a mean estimate (2012-2013) of total abundance of 2,826 polar bears (95% CI = 2,059-3,593). Due to several limitations of the available data, discussed in detail in this report, the estimates of abundance for the 1990s and 2000s are not directly comparable. Therefore, it is not possible to draw firm conclusions about trends in the abundance of the BB subpopulation. Nevertheless, the study has demonstrated the presence of a subpopulation in Baffin Bay considerably larger than that inferred from previous modeling (1,546 bears cf. PBSG 2015); the results of which formed part of the basis for the PBSG’s (2015) designation of BB as a declining subpopulation."

In plain words that official report says that there are many more bears in that area than thought previously.

And the paper also seems to forget the work of Mitch Taylor:  "Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching the status and management of polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago"

So the paper below places itself in the warm embrace of conventional thinking -- without addressing that it is precisely the conventional thinking which is under heavy challenge. They have built a two-legged stool.  They have failed to undermine the extensive evidence that bear numbers are increasing, not declining

Internet Blogs, Polar Bears, and Climate-Change Denial by Proxy


Increasing surface temperatures, Arctic sea-ice loss, and other evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are acknowledged by every major scientific organization in the world. However, there is a wide gap between this broad scientific consensus and public opinion. Internet blogs have strongly contributed to this consensus gap by fomenting misunderstandings of AGW causes and consequences. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have become a “poster species” for AGW, making them a target of those denying AGW evidence. Here, focusing on Arctic sea ice and polar bears, we show that blogs that deny or downplay AGW disregard the overwhelming scientific evidence of Arctic sea-ice loss and polar bear vulnerability. By denying the impacts of AGW on polar bears, bloggers aim to cast doubt on other established ecological consequences of AGW, aggravating the consensus gap. To counter misinformation and reduce this gap, scientists should directly engage the public in the media and blogosphere.

SOURCE.  There is a report of the above paper in the popular press here and a very detailed dissection of it here

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