With the Arctic warming faster than any place on earth and the sea ice declining, the government announced Monday that there is only one sure way to avoid polar bears going extinct. The government said a decisive action on climate change is our only one sure way.
The polar bear greatly depends on the ice to catch prey and survive. The warming of the Arctic and declination of the sea ice is taking away the natural environment for the polar bears. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified the rapid decline of sea ice as “the primary threat to polar bears.” They also said “the single most important achievement for polar bear conservation is decisive action to address Arctic warming.”
The global warming being seen in the Arctic is due to the human emission of greenhouse gases driven into the atmosphere.
“Short of action that effectively addresses the primary cause of diminishing sea ice,” the agency’s plan said, “it is unlikely that polar bears will be recovered.”
However, the issue is out of the hands of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There is an international effort to address climate change that was signed about a year ago in Paris. But, President-elect Donald Trump has doubted U.S. participation in the treaty that was signed by nearly 190 governments.
When asked about the human link to climate change, Trump said “I think there is some connectivity. . . . It depends on how much.” He has also said that he will keep an open mind on whether or not the U.S. should withdraw from the treaty.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not comment on their speculation as to what the next president will do.
“Even when we started the planning process, that was the discussion we were having … are we wasting our time here,” said Jenifer Kohout, deputy assistant director for Fish and Wildlife’s Alaska region, and a co-chair of the group that wrote the plan. “We wanted this plan to partially tell that story.”
Researchers say that 80 percent of the population will almost certainly collapse if the sea ice does continue to decline.
“We’re quite confident that absent action to address climate change, there would be very significant reduction in the range of polar bears,” said Michael Runge, a U.S. Geological Survey research ecologist who served as the plan’s other co-chairman.
Polar bears are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.