Here we go again. Professor Peter Wadhams of Cambridge University, no less, who ought to know better, is warning (with a huge lack of originality) that the survival of polar bears in the Arctic is under threat from “global warming”. Apparently he predicts that summer Arctic ice will cease to exist within four years (odd, that, as there’s been no effective net warming for fifteen years). This will deny the pin-up predators their happy hunting grounds, and they will all starve to death.
Let’s try to get this in perspective. First of all, the world has been warming, slowly and fitfully, since the Little Ice Age in the 17th & 18th centuries. Say a couple of hundred years (since way before serious industrialisation, by the way, which rather undermines the anthropogenic theory of climate change). During this time, the polar bear has done rather well, with repeated studies suggesting that numbers doubled or trebled over the last decades of the 20th century. But climate zealots are interested in computer-based projections, and rarely care a damn about what is actually happening in the real world. “I know the theory, don’t bother me with the facts”.
And if we’re going for perspective, let’s look at the longer term. Viewed against the context of the last 12,000 years — that is, over the current Interglacial period — today’s temperatures are not at all exceptional. As I love to say, the recent slight warming is entirely consistent with well-established, long-term, natural climate cycles. It was warmer in the Roman Optimum and the Mediaeval Warm Period. It was consistently warmer over the long-term in the early millennia of the Holocene.
Of course there weren’t too many earth-observation satellites in polar orbit during those earlier periods, but if (I repeat “IF”) the Arctic summer ice is about to go, then we can be sure that it also went during those earlier periods. Yet the polar bears survived just fine. They survived during the previous 100,000 years of severe glaciation. They were about in the previous (Eemian) Interglacial 120,000 years ago — fossils indistinguishable from modern polar bears have been recovered from that period. And they, or their immediate ancestors, have also survived through the last 2 million years of Ice Age conditions interspersed every 100,000 years or so by a 10,000 year interglacial.
Polar bears evolved in these conditions. They have experienced them, and survived them, again and again. So provided that we humans don’t hunt them to extinction with high-powered hunting rifles, it’s a racing certainly they’ll be here for the next interglacial, in A.D. 100,000. Indeed I’d give the polar bear better odds of survival to A.D. 100,000 than I’d give the human race.
This is a microcosm of the whole Global Warming Debate. Again and again the IPCC and assorted green zealots present theories, models and forecasts with a cavalier disregard of the facts on the ground. Above all, they fail to address the key challenge: that in a geo-historical context, nothing whatever has happened that requires any special or anthropogenic explanation.