The New York Times reported this morning: “Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment.”
I’ve never been very interested in politics but this result has me wondering. Could the new president reverse the Endangered Species Act (ESA) decisions listing polar bears and other species as ‘threatened’ with extinction due to future threats from global warming?
The Washington Post expressed worry about the fate of US energy and environmental policies (“Trump victory reverses U.S. energy and environmental priorities”), but I wonder if some scientists at the US Geological Survey and the US Fish & Wildlife Service are thinking hard about how their approach to science might look to the new president.
I’m thinking of those researchers who have aggressively championed the listing of polar bears, ringed and bearded seals as ‘threatened’ with extinction under the Endangered Species Act (and advocated the same fate for Pacific walrus) – all based on failed sea ice models and unproven assumptions about the importance of summer sea ice – including those following in the footsteps of their retired colleagues.
The fact is that polar bear numbers are at an all-time high relative to the 1960s, and at this point in time, polar bears are not threatened with extinction: there have been no continuous population declines, no range-contractions, and no loss of subpopulations.
The misrepresentation of facts by polar bear researchers and the media (two recent examples here and here), in aid of supporting a particular agenda on global warming (aka climate change), may backfire as badly as the media handling of the US election campaign.
Something to think about: ESA decisions are not set in stone.