It seems that Anthony Watts has decided to give Tom Fuller the reigns at his denialist propaganda outlet, WUWT. Tom obliges with some retreads of “skeptic” arguments we’ve all seen before.
The polar bear has recovered strongly from the 1960s, and there are now about 25,000 of them. They congregate in subgroups geographically, and the status of those subgroups is not uniform–some are growing, some are declining some are staying the same.
But the bears are robust enough that the indigenous tribes of the North say that they have completely recovered, and want hunting restrictions lifted. Indeed, about 1,000 polar bears a year are killed by hunting, according to The Polar Bear Specialist Group. And simple arithmetic showed that polar bears survived warmer periods than today that almost certainly included eras when Arctic ice was completely gone.
So the issue is ultimately an unfortunate distraction. The Arctic is warming. Polar bears are doing okay. And the point is?
I’ve addressed this canard previously in “The Age of Polar Bears”. Fuller’s argument amounts to little more than cherry picking and non sequitur. Polar bear populations have recovered somewhat from overharvesting since the 1960s, but remain threatened by numerous environmental stressors (harvest [hunting], contaminants, oil and gas development, and additional interactions with humans). Anthropogenic warming-induced loss of the sea ice from which these bears hunt- in combination with other stressors- presents a genuine threat. This is not the opinion of cynical environmentalists intent on “selling” the problem of global warming- this is the finding of the relevant scientific and regulatory communities.