Tag Archives: climate change

Activist fact-checkers are misleading the public on polar bear numbers

My press release response to activist ‘fact checkers‘ attacking a graph used by Bjorn Lomborg on social media:

Canadian zoologist Dr. Susan Crockford warns that some polar bear specialists are attempting to cast a smoke-screen over the growth of global polar bear numbers.

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Where were the starving W. Hudson Bay polar bears in 2020 if the population had declined by 2021?

Polar bears are supposed to starve before they die, the experts said. They said only a few years ago that dead or emaciated individuals onshore were evidence that many polar bears would soon be dying of starvation out on the sea ice. So, if the Western Hudson Bay (WH) subpopulation had indeed dropped by 27% by late summer 2021 as researchers claimed, where are all the photos of starving bears in the fall of 2020, the year before the count? The photo below of a thin female and cub was taken in late fall of 2021 (the year of the count) by a stationary web cam. In other words, some bears came off the ice without an optimal amount of fat because of poor hunting conditions over the winter but they were still alive. We know that 2020 had the shortest ice-free season in at least 20 years (and no similar images were captured), so bears went into the winter of 2020/2021 in good condition. Ditto for 2017-2019. In contrast to 2021, in 2016 (the year of the previous survey that also indicated a declining population size), bears reportedly came off the ice in good condition.

All I’ve seen are photos of fat bears and fat cubs, even a triplet litter in fall 2020. The shore of WH near Churchill should have been abounding with starving bears in 2020 (and in 2015), if the experts were right about starving bears preceding a population decline. More importantly, where are the studies on food-deprived bears onshore, as were done in the 1980s when WH bears were emaciated and cub survival poor (e.g. Ramsay et al. 1988)? WH bears are being used exclusively to model an implausibly pessimistic future for polar bears across the entire Arctic (Molnar et al. 2010; 2020), which means lack of good science for WH polar bears has big consequences. Covid restrictions in two of those ten years don’t excuse lack of study on this phenomenon.

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W. Hudson Bay polar bear population decline stories are unethical and ignore critical caveats

Canadian government scientists created headline news worldwide last week when they told the media that Western Hudson Bay polar bear numbers appeared to have declined by 27% between 2017 and 2021, based on a survey report that has not been made public. This is called ‘science by press release’. Its practice is rightfully considered unethical, as it is usually associated withpeople promoting scientific ‘findings’ of questionable scientific merit who turn to the media for attention when they are unlikely to win the approval of the professional scientific community.

Not surprisingly, all of the stories stated or implied a strong association between this purported population decline and lack of sea ice due to ‘climate change’. However, sea ice conditions have been particularly good over the last five years–for both freeze-up and breakup dates–calling into question how ‘lack of sea ice’ could possibly be to blame for the apparent decline.

A Reuters story (dated 23 December 2022) admits this is the case and included another critical caveat that only one news outlet I saw bothered to mention, which happened to be BBC News:

Scientists cautioned a direct link between the population decline and sea ice loss in Hudson Bay wasn’t yet clear, as four of the past five years have seen moderately good ice conditions. Instead, they said, climate-caused changes in the local seal population might be driving bear numbers down.

For example, an Associated Press story published the day before (22 December 2022), picked up by many other outlets, did not include these critical pieces of information about recent good sea ice conditions and possible declines in seal abundance.

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Polar bear habitat update: ice forming along Hudson Bay, Wrangel & Franz Josef Islands surrounded

Western Hudson Bay polar bears near Churchill will be able to leave shore within days, at most one week later than in the 1980s, although you wouldn’t know that from the climate change activists at Polar Bears International who have spent the last week promoting some egregiously false and misleading statements. PBI controls the narrative surrounding Western Hudson Bay bears through their partnership with the biggest polar bear tourist outfits in Churchill and online.

Yesterday, it was “See how the climate crisis is changing their world”.

Developing no slower than it did in 2007 (16 years of no change), Arctic sea ice is providing polar bears in southern regions with their second-most critical feeding opportunities while in areas like Wrangel Island and Franz Josef Land, they now have easy access to and from important summer refuge/maternity denning islands. And contrary to predictions of increased ‘conflict’ between polar bears and people around Churchill, there have been fewer problem bear reports there in recent years, this year included. In other words, there is no ‘climate crisis’ for polar bears, even in Western Hudson Bay, and recent models of a dire future for polar bears are based on totally implausible worst-case climate scenarios. Sea ice loss since 1979 has been so gradual that polar bears have been able to adapt, either through natural selection or changes in behaviour.

UPDATE 12 November 2022. One of the independents on the ground near Churchill had this to say about the bears and freeze-up conditions this year:

“Bears started leaving on November 10; conservation emptied the jail on the 10th as well.”

[the 10th was the day this post was originally published; ‘the jail’ is the Churchill Polar Bear Alert Program’s ‘holding facility’, see report below]. This information suggests the average date for bears leaving shore will likely turn out to be 12-14 November, again earlier than the average for the 1980s (16 Nov +/- 5 days). There may still be a few bears on the shore of Wapusk National Park that seem to be in no hurry to leave, but a few stragglers doesn’t mean there isn’t ice available for hunting.

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Allow children to learn about the Arctic without terrifying them with fantasies of climate catastrophe

This is a reminder that I have written three Arctic animal picture books, a polar bear ecology reference book, an Arctic ecology teaching guide (free) & a polar bear attack thriller suitable for teens, all of which let kids be kids.

In contrast to a book reviewer at the New York Times (30 October 2020), see image above:

Two new picture books and a novel for young readers place children at the center of climate calamity. Fittingly, they are stories of homes under threat; home, after all, is the thing climate change stalks, be it a house, a community or a livable planet. Each book offers its own lessons on how to cope with life under the monster we’ve created. The novel even shows how kids can help slay it.

No child needs this. Children need to be allowed to learn without being used as pawns in an adult political battle. Activist authors suggesting that climate change is a predator waiting to ‘stalk’ children’s homes and communities through floods and wildfires is reprehensible, not only because it isn’t true. Kids don’t need a ‘mini-primer on climate change’. Adults should fight their own battles and leave the kids alone. List of my books and links below and in the sidebar.

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Western Hudson Bay polar bears waiting for the sea ice to freeze as tourists flock to watch

Should only be a few weeks more until the ice forms along the western shore of Hudson Bay, it’s already been snowing. But for the tourist outfitters around Churchill, this is their time to profit from those willing and able to spend big money to see polar bears up close.

from the Explore.org web cam, 18 October 2022

Those tourists are captive audiences for the global warming propaganda provided by activist organization Polar Bears International: it’s virtually impossible for anyone to escape the climate change doom-mongering in Churchill and that’s a real pity.

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Frozen Planet II repeats Attenborough’s climate change scaremongering that began in 2015

A new Sir David Attenborough-narrated BBC six-part documentary, Frozen Planet II, has just hit TV audiences in the UK with a fresh litany of sob stories about Arctic and Antarctic animals designed to amplify the ‘save the planet’ rhetoric that Attenborough has been pushing for years, which I described in detail my book published earlier this year, Fallen Icon: Sir David Attenborough and the Falling Walrus Deception. h/t Toby Young.

Filming of Frozen Planet II series began in 2018, which suggests it was part of Attenborough’s relentless ‘climate change’ and ‘tipping point’ messaging agenda that started in 2015 with the inception of the WWF/Netflix ‘Our Planet‘ blockbuster series and the infamous Russian ‘falling walrus’. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that the second episode of this new series (Frozen Ocean) is set to air next week, around the time that Arctic sea ice will reach its lowest extent for the year.

Frozen Planet II: Sunday [11 September], 8pm, BBC One

Penguins! Gerbils! Seals! The fluffiest (and grumpiest) cats in the world! David Attenborough returns with another epic exploration of the world’s frozen regions. One minute you’re screaming at a grizzly bear chasing a muskox calf that’s lost its parents, the next you’re weirdly sad that a polar bear can’t hunt seals because of the melting ice – and this image nails the urgent message in this incredible six-episode series. The frozen wilderness is disappearing at a faster rate than ever before, with the Arctic predicted to see ice-free summers by 2035. Each closeup shot of these amazing animals is a reminder of what the world will lose without taking immediate action. [my bold] Hollie Richardson, The Guardian, 11 September 2022

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Polar bears became global warming icons because biologists promoted a narrative of doom since 1999: it didn’t happen ‘by accident’

The polar bear became an ‘accidental icon’ of climate change“, claims a recent CBC Radio interview with ardent global warming promoter and polar bear catastrophist Andrew Derocher. Derocher’s insistence that the polar bear became a climate change icon “by accident” is historical revisionism. While such a statement may be attractive now that polar bears are not dying in droves as he and his colleagues predicted in 2007, that doesn’t make it true.

In the summer of 1999, polar bear biologist Ian Stirling helped produce a short doomsday film spectacular for the biggest news outlet in Canada at the time, in which he hyped his ‘climate warming’ fears about Hudson Bay polar bears, yet we are expected to believe Derocher that on September 4, 2000, Time Magazine put polar bears on its “Arctic Meltdown” cover because they ‘just happened’ to hear about an academic paper Stirling had written the year before.

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Watch me talk polar bears with Tom Nelson

Recorded 12 August 2022, here’s the full podcast (his ‘#5’), some short snippets of this can be found on Tom’s Twitter feed and a list of his podcasts is here (you may notice I’ve let my curls come out to play!).

Research misconduct in fish ecology and what it means for those who dare to challenge experts

This has nothing to do with polar bears but everything to do with the scientific shenanigans that blight virtually all the fields that purport to support the human-caused climate change rhetoric, including polar bear research. The parallels of this example (published in Science Magazine yesterday) with my experience challenging the polar bear cabal is obvious, as it is with Dr. Peter Ridd’s battles with colleagues over the state of Great Barrier Reef corals, recently shown to be in spectacularly good condition.

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., who’s had more than his fair share of trouble challenging climate change rhetoric, tweeted about this development yesterday but today he’s published a comprehensive essay explaining the whole sordid story, called ‘Fish and Foul: Three lessons from a massive research misconduct case in marine science‘. It’s well worth a read all the way through but I’ve provided a few excerpts below.

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