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[greenyes] Pres. Bush & Global Warming Findings from the Arctic

I continue to find it difficult to understand how the President can claim he
opposes mandatory carbon reductions to save the world we leave our children
because it would put American workers at a competitive disadvantage with
some developing countries like China, while he embraces those distorted free
trade policies which place our workers at a far greater disadvantage.
Perhaps if those workers were to contribute as much money as the coal
companies, Mr. Bush might see the parallels.


Study Says Polar Bears Could Face Extinction
Warming Shrinks Sea Ice Mammals Depend On
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 9, 2004; Page A13

Global warming could cause polar bears to go extinct by the end of the
century by eroding the sea ice that sustains them, according to the most
comprehensive international assessment ever done of Arctic climate change.

The thinning of sea ice -- which is projected to shrink by at least half by
the end of the century and could disappear altogether, according to some
computer models -- could determine the fate of many other key Arctic
species, said the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, the product of four
years of work by more than 300 scientists.

Bears are dependent on sea ice because they use it to hunt for seals, which
periodically pop up through breathing holes in the ice. Because the ice has
broken up earlier and earlier in the year over the past few decades, polar
bears are deprived of crucial hunting opportunities.

The uncertain fate of the world's largest non-aquatic carnivores -- as well
as the future of other animals and humans who live in the Arctic -- was
sketched in stark relief yesterday by the 139-page document.

The report offered a broad picture of the evidence that climate change has
disproportionately affected far northern latitudes.

The researchers concluded that some areas in the Arctic have warmed 10 times
as fast as the world as a whole, which has warmed an average of 1 degree
Fahrenheit over the past century.

"The Arctic is really warming now," said Robert Corell, a senior fellow at
the American Meteorological Society who chaired the assessment. "These areas
provide a bellwether of what's coming to planet Earth."

In Alaska, western Canada and eastern Russia, average winter temperatures
have risen as much as four to seven degrees Fahrenheit within the past 50
years, according to the report and are projected to increase an additional
seven to 13 degrees over the next century. Winter temperatures have risen
faster than summer temperatures, according to Michael MacCracken, chief
scientist for climate change programs at the Washington-based Climate
Institute, because thin sea ice releases more energy from the ocean into the

The sea ice in Hudson Bay, Canada, now breaks up 2 1/2 weeks earlier than it
did 30 years ago, said Canadian Wildlife Service research scientist Ian
Stirling, and as a result female polar bears there weigh 55 pounds less than
they did then. Assuming the current rate of ice shrinkage and accompanying
weight loss in the Hudson Bay region, bears there could become so thin by
2012 they may no longer be able to reproduce, said Lara Hansen, chief
scientist for the World Wildlife Fund.

"Once the population stops reproducing, that's pretty much the end of it,"
Hansen said.


Polar bears are not the only Arctic animals in trouble. The ringed seals
that bears eat, and that humans hunt, are also dependent on the sea ice to
rest, give birth, nurse and feed.


"This study is the smoking gun. Skeptics, polluting industries and President
Bush can't run away from this one," said Philip E. Clapp, president of the
National Environmental Trust. He added the study showed "concrete evidence
that global warming pollution is already having serious impacts."

Administration officials, who oppose mandatory curbs on carbon emissions on
the grounds that it will cost U.S. jobs, said yesterday that they consider
Arctic climate change an important issue and will work to draft policy
recommendations for the region. Some European negotiators have complained
that the U.S. State Department is resisting issuing policy guidelines based
on the scientific study, a charge Bush officials deny.

"The United States is committed to working within the United Nations
framework and elsewhere to develop an effective and science-based global
approach to climate change that ensures continued economic growth and
prosperity for our citizens and for citizens throughout the world," said
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher.


Peter Anderson, President
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