International polar bear forum Moscow, Dec. 3-6

International Forum on Conservation of Polar Bears
December 3-6, Moscow.

[Updated November 30, 2013]
If you’ve wondered why there’s been so much polar bear hype circulating over the last couple of weeks, the reason is almost certainly this upcoming meeting.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the signing of an international agreement to protect polar bears from commercial and unregulated sport hunting. Next week, the five Arctic nations that signed the original agreement will meet again, in Moscow, to renew their vows.

Polar bear forum_Moscow_Goals and objectives_01

One of stated goals of the meeting is to redefine the original agreement, which focused on over-hunting (see the complete draft agenda here). Can you guess what the changes will involve?

The meeting will emphasize the perceived threats presented by future sea ice declines predicted to occur due to global warming (“climate change”) and by (largely unconfirmed) illegal trade in polar bear trophies – see agenda excerpt below:

Polar bear forum_Moscow_objectives details_02

Keep in mind that CITES rejected a complete ban on polar bear trade at their international meeting last March – for the second time – because it was deemed unnecessary [trade is still regulated]. Even the CITES Secretariat recommended rejecting the proposed complete ban. Now it appears the issue is being raised again, with only Arctic nations present.

It would seem that the USA, who filed the original CITES proposal to ban polar bear trade, and Russia, who eventually joined them in support (see previous posts here and here), may be using this opportunity to pressure those Arctic nations who rejected the proposed ban on polar bear trade at the international CITES meeting in March (i.e., Canada, Greenland/Denmark, and Norway) to accept the ban in principle as part of an Arctic polar bear agreement.

As for the threat of global warming, the participants will also be treated to a presentation on “global climate change” by no lesser an expert on the future than a genuine climate modeler!

Russian climate modeler Vladimir Kattsov will provide the scary prophesies that only computers can deliver.

[Twitter profile screencap removed Nov 30 2013]

Attendees will almost certainly be treated to another scary story by Steven Amstrup – former USGS employee who, almost single handed, got the polar bear models to predict a future of near-extinction based on rising CO2 levels [see last item on the list below, Bayesian models presented by a “Representative of the USGS”].

2013 PB meeting_excerpt 5_Bayesian models

However, recent research has shown that many of the assumptions Amstrup used as input for these predictive models had to have been largely or completely wrong, as I discussed previously here and here.

In the face of that, Amstrup has ramped up his rhetoric in his capacity as full time paid spokesperson for activist lobbying organization Polar Bears International. I’ve commented about some of it recently here, here, and here. [PBI will almost certainly be in attendance at this meeting]

Overall, a lot of politics posing as science, from the sounds of it. The draft agenda is here.

I’ll post more on this as my thoughts unfold and as information becomes available.

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