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Governor Palin Responds to New Climate and Polar Bear Studies


October 24, 2007

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin responded to nine new reports on climate and polar bears released by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) in support of a petition to list polar bears under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The State's review of these reports by a wide range of scientists found nothing new to change the State's previous conclusion. There is insufficient information to justify a listing of the polar bear as threatened under the ESA at this time.

jpg Polar Bear

Polar Bear
Photo courtesy USGS

The State says the new USGS reports show no evidence that polar bear populations across their world-wide range are unhealthy. There is evidence that polar bears are currently well-managed and have dramatically increased over 30 years through international agreements and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The State recognizes that a recent warming trend in portions of the Arctic is occurring, but the causes and effects are more diverse, complex and scientifically debated than is recognized in the USGS reports. As a result, the link between projected warming and the polar bear population in 50 years is highly speculative and questionable. Polar bears survived prior warming periods greater than the current one. The State notes that numerous respected scientists around the world question the forecasting methodologies used to project impacts to polar bears.

"The listing of a currently healthy species based entirely on highly speculative and uncertain climate and ice modeling and equally uncertain and speculative modeling of possible impacts on a species would be unprecedented," Governor Palin stated in a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne.

The State believes that conservation goals could be better met through increased research and monitoring on climate change and polar bears. Listing polar bears under ESA could actually harm many of the existing and highly successful polar bear conservation measures under several international agreements and treaties. Listing could also result in the loss of other options that are useful in assuring continued viability of the species.

"As a trustee of this resource, Alaska stands ready to assist you through this important decision," Governor Palin reminded Secretary Kempthorne. "We share the goal of maintaining a healthy and well-managed polar bear population."


On the Web:

New Polar Bear Findings - 9 recent studies

Source of News:

Office of the Governor


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska