In 2009, for the first time, the polar bear biologists that make up the IUCN’s Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) invited four professional advocates – not one or two, but four – to their exclusive, once-every-four-years meeting of top polar bear biologists (called “delegates”) from the world’s Arctic nations (Canada, Russia, USA, Greenland/Denmark and Norway) – two from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and two from Polar Bears International (PBI).
[Recall that 2009 was also the year that PBSG Chairman Andrew Derocher stripped veteran Canadian polar bear biologist and long-time PBSG member Mitch Taylor of his
delegate attendee status because he did not have the appropriate attitude to global warming (see previous post here). Update – just to be clear, Mitch had retired from his government polar bear research job (a valid reason for not being included as a delegate) but with more than 30 years experience and his vast publication record on polar bears – as well as his long association with the PBSG as a delegate – he certainly should have qualified as an “invited specialist” at the 2009 meeting]
I expect Canadian journalist and author Donna LaFramboise would call this inclusion of WWF and PBI advocates in an otherwise exclusive meeting of polar bear biologists a “behind-the-scenes lobbying opportunity,” similar to the inclusion of WWF personnel in the IPCC review process (see original article here and email interview here and “WWF infiltrates UK gov’t” here).
WWF and PBI are organizations devoted to changing public policy to suit their idea of how the world should be – whether others agree or not. They are passionate lobbyists with money behind them and they use their influence to pressure politicians – and now, supposedly impartial scientific organizations – to make decisions that fit their agenda.