A new paper from the Global Warming Policy Foundation accuses scientists of systematically misleading the public, saying that they are blaming changes in polar bear populations on global warming despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
In the paper `The Arctic Fallacy’, Dr Susan Crockford, an expert in Arctic mammals, notes that reductions in polar bear populations are clearly linked to thick spring ice, which reduces the availability of the bears’ prey.
Despite this, scientists routinely blame reductions in summer ice, despite there being little evidence to support the idea: in fact years of low summer ice extent are often accompanied by big increases in bear populations. According to Dr Crockford, polar bear scientists are being `willfully blind to the facts’.
Professor Matthew Cronin of the University of Alaska, the author of the paper’s Foreword said: `The constant chorus declaring crises for high-profile wildlife is dangerous, not only to science and economics, but because we might not pay attention when real threats arise’.
Full paper (pdf)
Dr Susan Crockford is an evolutionary biologist and has been working for 35 years in archaeozoology, paleozoology and forensic zoology. She is an adjunct professor at the University of Victoria.
Dr Matthew Cronin is Professor of Animal Genetics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.